Film Review – Whitney: Can I Be Me

With the exception of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody“, a song that featured on a 1987 compilation tape I played endlessly, Whitney Houston kind of passed me by . Her huge hits Greatest Love of All and I Will Always Love You were not the kind of tunes I was into in 1995 at the age of 22.

Similarly I wasn’t really aware of her film career, avoiding The Bodyguard at all costs.

I’m grateful that I’ve seen Whitney: Can I Be Me to understand with at major talent she was, and that her tragic early death cut short an incredible life.

“Never before seen footage”, particularly from a 1999 European tour, underpins this latest documentary from BAFTA winning film-maker Nick Broomfield.

A quick search on the man reveals none of his two dozen plus films are available on iTunes, and I’ve only ever seen Kurt & Courtney which from memory was quite confronting, and confrontational.

Similarly Whitney: Can I Be Me delves into the childhood of this global superstar, a naturally gifted artist who paved the way for the global domination of Beyonce and Rihanna.

Houston’s family share their memories of her, as a child, as her career took off, and once she was too famous to live a normal life.

The personal details of her life are exposed under the microscope, but it never feels trashy, rather Broomfield peeling back the layers to help us understand how and why it went so wrong.

Her own bodyguard of 7 or so years is interviewed at length and his efforts to intervene in the escalating drug use resulted in his contract being terminated, and he identifies some key figures in the rise and fall of one of pop music’s fallen idols.

4 Stars – Captivating & Heartbreaking. Essential Viewing.

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