Watson Reviews: Whitney

its been a great year for Documentaries. Some have been conventional white wine sipping entries for snobs like me; such as RBG, Seeing Allred, Direct Meausures, and Mercury 13.

There have been, though, some very approachable docs I would recommend to broad audiences; such as Three Identical Strangers and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

This film seems like it might fall in that latter category.

WHAT I THOUGHT:

It was pretty solid, but still felt like a very special episode of the E! True Hollywood Story.

Of course the music was great, and it landed how impressive of a vocalist she was before the addiction took her voice and eventually her life. But with the exception of one moment, it feels like this was all covered in the People Magazine Exploitation Commemorative issue on newsstands within 4 hours of her death.

Early on, it seemed all of Whitney’s dialogue in the doc, from hours of interviews and TV appearances, were going to feature her voice only. That was such a cool affect, playing up her angelic voice as coming from above. But halfway in, they seemed to abandon this and showed her being interviewed throughout her life. A missed opportunity for a cool effect.

  • Ultimately what surprised me most here was the revelation that for much of her adult life, she was more like the poor woman who was mocked and ridiculed for her addiction.
  • I was surprised her girl next door persona was always an image. I had always thought she got into heavy drugs later in life after Bobby, but that problem began well before him.
  • BIG TAKE AWAYS:

    • Bobby Brown is a mess.  This guy is a piece of work. He is so delusional in his belief that drugs weren’t a problem for Whitney. Today! After she died in a bathtub while high! He’s oddly protective of her even after their divorce and despite his jealousy the grew toxic as her career soared and his plateaued and declined. He’s crazy… but look? I still love his late 80’s solo stuff and you can judge me for it…but that’s my prerogative.
    • She has a damn impressive family Her Dad was a connected Newark politico. Her Mom was a famous backup singer for Elvis and Aretha. Hell, her cousin is Dionne Warwick and brother was an NBA player. They got some strong genes. #HoustonStrong
    • This documentary actually broke major news. Two family members reveal late in the film that Whitney was the subject of sexual abuse by her female cousin Didi Warwick (Dionne’s semi-famous sister). This had never been revealed before but the allegation seems credible.
  • FINAL THOUGHTS:

  • Whitney’s story was heart wrenching enough before the abuse allegation. This just added a sad chapter to her tragic life.
  • She had demons but she left a heck of a musical legacy.
  • Overall, I give Whitney a score of 8Moments In Time out of 10.

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