Whitney: Can I Be Me

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Whitney: Can I Be Me

Nick Broomfield (2017)

100min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
While ostensibly cut from the same cloth as documentary-maker Nick Broomfield's previous music star post-mortems (Kurt & Courtney, Biggie & Tupac), this engrossing study of the tragic decline of Whitney Houston pivots on lengthy unseen footage filmed by another man's camera. Rudi Dolezal was given seemingly unlimited access to Houston, her family and entourage on a 1999 European tour, but cracks in the superstar's image and her spiralling poor health means the project was never completed. As a cautionary tale of the downside of fame, it ticks every box while simultaneously breaking the viewer's heart. Shunned by her peers for being "too white" and exploited by almost everyone around her (with the exception of her oldest friend and a straight-talking Welsh bodyguard), Houston's growing dependence on drink and drugs derailed her career and ultimately killed her. The singer comes across as hugely likeable and extraordinarily funny, but insecurities rooted in childhood constantly lead to bad choices, catalogued without sensationalist gimmicks by a film-maker renowned for level-headed journalistic storytelling.

Summary

Director Nick Broomfield makes use of previously unused footage and live performance recordings to tell the life story of Whitney Houston, the celebrated American singer who died in 2012 aged 48. Despite making millions of dollars, and achieving more consecutive number-one hits than The Beatles, Whitney's time in the spotlight left her believing she `wasn't free' to be herself, and here, Broomfield assesses the circumstances that would bring a talented performer of international repute to believe she was a victim of her own success.

Cast & Crew

Whitney Houston Whitney Houston
Director Nick Broomfield
Director Rudi Dolezal

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: DogwoofGuidance: Swearing, drug abuseAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 16 Jun 2017
Documentary