However, director Nick Broomfield certainly opened my eyes to several things.
First: though Whitney was very regal, her childhood was less so. She came from a rough place and wasn’t above scrapping with the best of them. She wasn’t the angel that I had imagined. The elegance she became known for was carefully constructed. I won’t give away more.
Second: look closely are her early photos She was very tomboyish. Almost mannish. Draw your own conclusions. I drew mine.
Third: she was no stranger to drugs. They had been part of her life since her teen years. But it seems that she couldn’t control it. Bobby Brown could. Maybe it was the fame, maybe it was simply her personality. Watch for the interview with her bodyguard (make of that what you will) – his letter to her family was very revealing. Speaking of family – we’ve had the Jackson’s and certainly the Houston’s can’t compare to that…but, still.
The biopic consists mainly of great archival footage. A lot from her final tour. It’s enough to make you cry – you want to reach out and grab her away. It has all the pluses for a bio-pic: it has new footage, it’s well constructed and flows. It documents her rise and her fall without sentiment or too much glossing (there are some fairly shiny areas, but it’s pretty easy to read Broomfield’s inference). There certainly is music but it’s kept to a minimum. Which is great for me but not so for her fans.
At the end, I don’t think I “knew” Whitney any better – she isn’t alive to explain to us what she thought of her life and the people in it. Broomfield certainly has changed my impression of her but I’m still unsure what the truth is — and I’ll never know. She, like all people, was a complex human. A talented complex human. Her early death was a tragic waste of talent.
Make the effort to see it while it’s in the theatres.
Read Toni’s review of The Trip to Spain here.