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Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 18 August 2017 (USA)
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Tells the story of Whitney Houston's extraordinary life and tragic death.
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Whitney Houston ... Herself (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tony Anderson Tony Anderson ... Himself
Burt Bacharach ... Himself
Michael Baker Michael Baker ... Himself
Bobbi Kristina Brown ... Herself (archive footage)
Bobby Brown ... Himself (archive footage)
Tina Brown Tina Brown ... Herself
Robyn Crawford Robyn Crawford ... Herself (archive footage)
Doug Daniel Doug Daniel ... Himself
David Foster ... Himself
Sharlotte Gibson ... Herself
Toni Gregory Toni Gregory ... Herself
Frances Grill Frances Grill ... Herself
John Russell Houston Jr. John Russell Houston Jr. ... Himself (archive footage)
Cissy Houston ... Herself
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Storyline

By the time Whitney Elizabeth Houston was 15, she was singing background vocals for Chaka Khan, Lou Rawls, and Jermaine Jackson. In 1983 Whitney signed a worldwide recording contract with Clive Davis's Arista Records. However her success came with its fair share of drug use, love affairs, and scandals.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on real person | woman | See All (2) »

Taglines:

An incredible and poignant life story.

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

18 August 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Whitney Houston See more »

Filming Locations:

Vienna, Austria See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$341,402
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Culled from over 80 hours of interviews with people that knew and worked with Whitney Houston. See more »

Quotes

Whitney Houston: I want people to remember me just being a real nice person.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Andrew Klavan Show: Is MAGA Over? (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fairly impressive, but you can't help but feel it's missed the moment
25 October 2017 | by davideo-2See all my reviews

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

When world famous recording superstar Whitney Houston died from a drug overdose in February 2012, it sent the showbiz world into chaos and had everyone talking. Director Nick Broomfield examines her life leading up to her death, from her upbringing in the slums of the ghetto, where she first began experimenting with drugs, but also discovered her amazing, soulful voice, that would lead to her conquering the world with her singing, where she harmonised it singing in the choir in the local evangelical church. When she first hit the big time, she first experimented with her sexuality with assistant Robyn Crawford, before settling down with r n' b singer Bobby Brown, which sadly lead to a downward spiral of drink and drugs that ruined it all.

If there are many things Broomfield's documentary misses out on, one salient point it does raise is how unhappy Whitney apparently was with the manufactured, fuzzy commercial pop she was made to sing by her record company, designed to appeal to the mainstream white suburban America that was apparently more likely to buy the records, rather than stuff that was more grounded in her roots, with no one wanting her to become 'the female James Brown.' While these were the tunes that made her famous, it's disconcerting to know she felt so little of it behind the scenes. As if out of some weird respect for this, Broomfield brushes over most of her early back catalogue, and musically, focuses on her 1992 cover of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You, from the hit motion picture The Bodyguard.

Another touchy subject that has never received much attention before is her rumoured bisexuality, which is sparingly explored here in the early stages, but what's more revealing is the disdain for such things that exists among, or did exist among, the black community in America at the time, and if Whitney wasn't spurned by her fans or wider society, she would have been by those closer to her. Running under the two hour mark, it's hard not to surmise that Broomfield may have had a lot of missed opportunities, and stuff he neglects to explore or delve into that could have added more substance to the proceedings, and given it a more interesting edge.

It all feels very similar to a lot of what has already been documented about Whitney's personal/private life in TV documentaries and such, and at this late stage it's hard not to feel like you're seeing stuff you've already seen. But it's still a fairly well made and focused documentary of a cultural icon. ***


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