What Will the New Whitney Houston Doc Actually Teach Us?

“You don’t know her story until you hear the truth,” read title cards in the just-released trailer for the estate-approved Whitney Houston doc, Whitney, due out July 6. The warm and fuzzy preview touts “unprecedented access to her family and friends,” perhaps to contrast with last year’s Nick Broomfield/Rudi Dolezal Whitney documentary, Can I Be Me? That film was clearly more salacious in nature, making strong suggestions about Houston’s sexuality especially via an examination of her relationship with Robyn Crawford. Houston’s estate attempted to interfere with Can I Be Me? production and have its release yanked, according to its directors, though Broomfield told Jezebel last year that he thought the estate’s resistance to his doc had less to do with its content and more to do with money as the estate was working on its own film.


And here it is, directed by Oscar winner Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September), premiering at Cannes (out of competition, but still), and being released in part by Miramax, of all places. The trailer bombards us with information we already know. “She became Whitney Houston when it was time for her to get onstage.” “Everybody loved her.” “No one could touch Whitney as far as singing.” “All of the things coming at her, she just wanted to escape the pressure.” Yep yep yep yep.

But even if it’s just a long montage of obvious narration, fond reminiscing, and footage we’ve seen by now dozens of times, this doc could prove irresistible to many. Spending two or so hours watching, thinking about, and immersed in the world of our horribly missed Whitney sounds to me like a fine way to spend time.

Some Pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.


American treasure.