Where Asif Kapadia's 2015 Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy, gave audiences a poignant insight into the life of the tragic star, Whitney: Can I Be Me tries to pull on the same emotional strings but never quite has the same impact.
The film starts at the end, with the 911 call from the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11, 2012 after Houston's body was found unconscious in her suite. We are then taken on a journey back to her childhood gospel singing days with some incredible archive footage showing off her immense talent even at such a young age. The air of tragedy looms quickly as we are all too aware of how the story pans out.
There are interviews with people who were close to her, never-before-seen backstage footage and home movies, snippets of concert performances and archive material. It flows well and looks great, but it is impossible not to notice the gaps.
Houston's relationship with Bobby Brown and her long-time friendship with her executive assistant Robyn Crawford, with whom she was rumoured to have had a romantic relationship – the film heavily points towards this as being fact – are chronicled in depth, but neither have contributed to the project. The whole way through they are the two voices that are missing from the narrative.
It's no mean feat to get beneath the surface of an icon, especially one whose image was so contrived to make her the star that she was, and whose battle with addiction and her turbulent marriage to Brown played out in the tabloids when her facade began to shatter, but there are some moments of real insight here when we see Houston with her guard down.
Houston says herself in archive footage, "Success doesn't change you, fame does" and we see just how much her fame corrupted her chance at a happy life and the great pressures she was under and the toll it took on her health. She got everything she thought she wanted, and it cost her her future.
Her achievements are almost used as a device to drive the tragic theme, as are videos of Houston talking about her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown and footage of her as a young child performing on stage with her, but her story is one of sadness despite her successes.
At no point do you feel like you really get to know Whitney Houston as more than an extremely talented, driven but troubled artist. You do, however, begin to understand just where it all went wrong for her, and that frustrating feeling of Amy is repeated in the knowledge that if she had just had better people around her, things might have been different.
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