‘Whitney’ Reviews: Critics Sing Whitney Houston Documentary’s Praises

Whitney (Miramax and Roadside Attractions)

The new documentary, Whitney, revisits Whitney Houston’s life and career as she rose to the heights of the music and movie industries before her tragic fall.

Houston shattered more records than any other female singer in history – selling over 200 million albums worldwide, landing seven consecutive No. 1 singles, and taking home six Grammy Awards.

She also co-starred in a string of hit films including The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale.

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But there was a downside to the massive success, including drug use, marital problems and eventually her death at age 48 in 2012.

Whitney offers a behind-the-scenes look at Houston’s life, and includes interviews with her family and friends.

Critics are applauding the film from Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald as “moving,” yet they say it is “depressing.”

The Miramax and Roadside Attractions documentary logged an impressive 90 percent Tomatometer rating on  Rotten Tomatoes,with 72 of 80 reviews ranking the film as fresh, as of Friday afternoon. The other 8 listed it as rotten.

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Among the reviewers heaping praise on the film was Gary Thompson of Philly.com.

Whitney offers an informed and moving portrait of a complex, talented woman who was poorly understood, and often cruelly judged,” Thompson wrote.

Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post called the film “powerful.”

Whitney transcends the conventions of the form, delivering a powerful reminder of the breathtaking talent she possessed and the monumental future that was squandered on the altar of selfishness and greed,” Hornaday wrote.

Kevin C. Johnson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Whitney is the definitive word on the singer’s life story.

“It’s all the Whitney Houston documentary you’ll ever need – if you need one at all,” Johnson wrote.

However, Chris Riemenschneider of the Minneapolis Star Tribune warned the movie is not easy to watch.

“It’s long and ultra-depressing, but still quite compelling,” Riemenschneider wrote.

Aramide A. Tinubu of Shadow and Act criticized the film for failing to offer many new revelations.

Whitney offers little when it comes to revelations for those who know Houston’s story,” Tinubu wrote. “But it does cast a sharper lens on a woman who gave the world her voice and got very little in return.”

Whitney opens nationwide on Friday, July 6.