Whitney Houston will always be one of the greatest singers of her generation and beyond. Her untimely death shocked the world, but didn’t surprise the few who knew her so well. In the made for television movie, Whitney, directed by Angela Basset and released by Lifetime, we are shown as a spectator the rise and fall of a beloved celebrity.
Basset’s take on the movie is told in a heroic way, and it deserves to be viewed by those who arrived at the fandom of Whitney’s voice and acting talent, and who felt deep sorrow for her demise. Watching the movie, I was drawn into the story by the cinematic talent of Anastas Michos with his long, silent shots that kept the drama raw in an artsy way. The movie felt incredibly real and often ugly,
Basset remains objective throughout the movie as I wondered if Houston family sanction movie. The director didn’t slam the legend, but let the story unfold, so I could see what happened to Whitney.
Yet, I still felt empty at the end with unanswered questions. What destroyed her life? What were the factors involved? Was it her husband’s immoral lifestyle that influenced her?
Any fan of this multi-talented star will enjoy this movie despite the lack of real details.
There are a couple of issues to consider when viewing this movie. It appears the scenes are reenactments, yet there is no back story and no foreshadowing. As a result, the movie lacks character development that indicates how Whitney became the celebrity who accidently drowned in a bathtub at Beverly Hilton Hotel room. We are not given a hint as to why and how she started taking drugs. I would have liked to have seen Basset take this into consideration because the story would have been more interesting. Of course, it is hard to get into the soul of an individual, but I am sure Whitney’s close friends and family could have provided key information.
Yaya DaCosta as Whitney is brilliant, and she gained control of Whitney’s mannerisms. Her singing is without flaws and believable with vocals being performed well by Deborah Cox. Arlen Escarpeta who plays Whitney’s ex-husband Bobby nails the part as a celebrity hood.
Viewers might quickly blame Bobby for Whitney’s demise and rightly so. He was the man in her life that should have protected her from the evils of stardom. Most of us wish he had protected her, or wish she had found refuge elsewhere in the arms of a religion or a true friend who knew how to help her.