Whitney review - a stunning tribute to the one of the world's most troubled stars
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Verdict: a brutal but brilliant homage to a true icon. Kevin Macdonald's Whitney (2018) is one of the best biopic documentaries in years, going down in documentary history with recent hits such as Blackfish (2013) and Amy (2015). Mcdonald's incredible Whitney tracks the life of one of the best vocalists to have ever walked the earth, providing unrestricted access to the people who picked her up, the people who influenced her, and the people who dragged her down. The documentary is made up of a combination of exclusive interviews with her friends and family (including her mother, brothers and ex-husband), home recordings, and live shows and TV appearances. Houston's own voice can be heard constantly, almost as a narrator to the film, clearly taken from interviews throughout her life, striking a haunting tone throughout the entire film. Mcdonald is brave in his filmmaking, deciding to take risks instead of opting for simplistic conventions such as plain transitions and a strict chronological order. With the narrative constantly chopping and changing and bold fast transitions, his filmmaking style seemingly fits the story of a woman that was so much larger than life. The film follows a relentless spiralling of Houston's health and personal circumstances, revealing her troubles with domestic abuse, her husband's infidelity and her infamous use of drugs. The documentary starts with homemade clips of Whitney, a young, pretty, and astoundingly talented girl, singing in her local church. With the notorious images of her in her final years solidified deep in the minds of the audience, the opening scenes of her performing in church with so much passion, energy, and class, are simply gut-wrenching.
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