This exacting and detailed documentary, made with the co-operation of the Houston family, has been in the news after interviews with her brothers and minders revealed that, as a child, she had been sexually assaulted while in the care of her older cousin, Dee Dee Warwick, sister of singer Dionne.
Whitney never spoke out about the abuse, and she herself died tragically, aged 48, in a bathtub in a hotel room in 2012.
But the revelations perhaps go a long way to explaining Houston’s struggle with drugs and addiction in her later life, despite a brilliant career selling 170 million albums.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the story of Whitney’s rise and fall in the glare of celebrity has parallels with the recent documentary Amy, about the late Amy Winehouse, and also uses snippets of intimate home video to add to the footage.
Both singers also suffered at the hands of a controlling father, and both failed to finish rehab.
But the sadness is tempered by Whitney’s electric performances, including the national anthem at the Superbowl, and an emotional concert before Nelson Mandela in newly liberated South Africa.
Plus there are great shots of 1980s and 1990s over-the-top fashions and hairdos.
The film also focuses on Whitney’s long lesbian relationship with her manager and best friend Robyn Crawford, which was never publicly acknowledged by the singer.
Clearly no one, in less enlightened times, wanted to speak of anything that might affect the hit-making machine, particularly with Whitney’s Christian Gospel Choir background.
Whitney’s 85-year-old mother Cissy, interviewed in the New Hope Baptist Church in New Jersey, where her child first sang, makes no comment on the allegations.
Meanwhile Whitney’s ex-husband, singer Bobby Brown, refuses to talk about their drug use.
The refusals to speak add to a disturbing picture of the isolation of celebrity. The film makes you deeply aware of just how much was lost. - Daily Mail