Whitney movie poster
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Whitney
Whitney movie poster

Whitney Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

I was supposed to review the documentary Whitney a week ago, but a little thing called The Haunting of Hill House debuted on Netflix, and, well, Whitney Houston didn’t win. The postponement didn’t really pay off, as the documentary is a well made but somewhat forgettable reporting of the troubled singer’s life.

Whitney covers the span of her life, from her childhood to her marriage with Bobbi Brown and eventual drug addiction and death. The doc is directed by Kevin Macdonald, who made Touching the Void and Marley and a bunch of other films.

The doc is efficiently made and takes good (albeit easy) advantage of Houston’s most popular songs. But even though I never was a huge Whitney Houston fan (and have never been a huge fan of documentaries about musicians, though the similarly themed Amy was sensational), the doc presents very little that isn’t well known already. She was a great singer, she married a shitty person, and she died.

The doc works best with Whitney at her peak; it thrives with the natural energy her music evokes, her incredible voice still capable of making the hairs on the back of your neck raise. When it moves into her later, less idyllic years, the doc struggles to hold your attention; while it should be interesting, it’s just sort of sad and surface-level. And sort of boring.

Whitney is perfectly fine and captures the singer’s rise and fall in a way that could educate a younger generation, but for anyone who grew up in the 80s or 90s (or earlier, you old fogie), there’s nothing new to see here.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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