Opens: July 26
Genre: Biographical documentary
Duration: 120 minutes
Two of Britain’s finest documentary makers have now made films about the late R’n’B singer, Whitney Houston, in the mid-to-late 1980s the planet’s most popular female vocalist. The first to appear was last year’s Whitney: Can I Be Me?, in which veteran Nick Broomfield comprehensively explored the many sides of this gifted singer’s rise and tragic fall.
Now Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void) has completed his exploration, and he’s persuaded members of the singer’s family, including tough mother Cissy Houston – herself a former professional singer – to speak on camera for the first time.
If you think that spells “airbrushed version”, think again. Members of the family were involved in Whitney’s career at various levels and they don’t hold back in criticising one another.
The harshest allegation concerns Whitney’s cousin, Dee Dee Warwick (not to be confused with the latter’s better-known sister Dionne). She’s accused here of sexually abusing Whitney when she was a child – thus allegedly triggering the self-destructive behaviour that came in the wake of her wild success and eventual disappearance from the public eye.
If you’ve seen the first film, this one is no less fascinating, well-made and moving – albeit not as unique and necessary as it probably wants us to find it.