Whitney: Can I Be Me (M)
Rating: 4 / 5
‘Be careful what you wish for’ could have been the title for this excellent but desperately sad documentary on singer Whitney Houston’s life.
Whitney: Can I Be Me is a searching documentary of the singer’s 46 short years, which ended in 2012 with an overdose in a hotel room.
Whitney’s central problem is summed up in the title—she may have had fame and riches galore, but she was never able to be just Whitney.
Whitney: Can I Be Me includes much candid footage of Whitney’s life and the entourage she supported, from ex-husband Bobby Brown to protective but possessive friend Robyn, and all the people for whom Whitney was a meal ticket, including her beloved father who sued his daughter for financial reparation. This rejection by her ‘Daddy’ was one of the cruellest blows.
We hear Whitney’s beautiful and powerful voice in live performance. She poured her heart and soul into singing, so there was nothing left to support Whitney the person.
She craved a ‘normal’ husband and family life, but what she got was a narcissistic cheat and a little girl who became so hooked on drugs that she fatally overdosed at 22, three years after her mother.
The most impressive commentary comes from the ex-Scotland yard security guard who wrote a report saying what needed to change to save Whitney. His candid report could have saved several lives, but his services were then dispensed with, and nothing changed.
Whitney: Can It Be Me is essential viewing for anyone who thinks illicit substances might improve their life—the story of Whitney is testament to the tragic impact of the drug culture, especially when mixed with worldwide fame.