Review of "Whitney" on Lifetime From The TV MegaSite

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Yaya DaCosta and Arlen Escarpeta

"Whitney" review by Suzanne 1/6/15
Premieres January 17 on Lifetime 8et/pt

This movie is not bad in any obvious ways; it's got fine acting, and the dialogue is okay. The music is not bad. If you're a fan of Whitney or Bobby, you may like it. Otherwise, though, it's pretty much a waste of time.

I loved her music, but otherwise I didn't know much about Whitney or her life, other than occasional jokes I heard about her and Bobby's bad reality show and how they did a lot of drugs. I loved her movies (the few I saw), and it was sad when she died.

The movie doesn't really tell you much about Whitney. In fact, it really should have been called "Whitney and Bobby" because it's all about them. It picks up when they meet, and Whitney is already doing a lot of coke. There's nothing much to tell us why she does drugs or anything about how she got so famous or talented. There's even less about Bobby, other than her mom calling him a boy from the projects.

The movie only covers a few years of their lives as they get married, have a child, and he apparently cheats on her once, and then he goes into rehab after a friend gets shot. It ends there for no particular reason. Perhaps they wanted the movie to end on a somewhat happy note, but it doesn't work. We all know that this story doesn't have a happy ending.

I only learned two things about them from this movie. She had a good friend named Robin that she may or may not have had a lesbian relationship with, and she did drugs before she met Bobby (I'd heard that he got her into it, but apparently not). Oh, and he was a drunk as well as an addict.

Her mom is against this movie, and they didn't get permission to use her singing, so they got Canadian R&B singer Deborah Cox to sing her tunes (Canadian R&B sounds kind of like an oxymoron).  She does a fine job, but anyone who's heard Whitney's hits can tell that it's not her.  Cox's lower notes are very different, for one thing. Perhaps she worked so hard on sounding like Whitney on the higher notes, that she forgot about the rest of it. I think that they probably shouldn't have bothered to do the movie without getting the original recordings.

Angela Bassett directed this, her first movie. I feel bad because she's a really nice lady that I interviewed a few months ago. I hope we see better movies from her after this.

The acting is fine, if sometimes a little overwrought. I don't know if it's because of Dacosta or the direction, but Whitney comes over as just kind of a ditzy party girl. Perhaps that would have seemed less so if we'd seen her working more on her singing and on the music, rather than just doing drugs and performing (and fighting with people).

The dialogue is typical for a romantic drama of this type. There are many scenes with singing, dancing, and partying (drinking and drug use). I just really would have liked to have seen something about her earlier life and then have it finish with her later life, but I guess that would have needed to be a miniseries or more than one movie because although she died a lot younger than she should have, she packed a lot of success and living into her life.

This is one of those movies where they try so hard to be positive and not make the characters look bad that it's just fluff and nothing. Less than fluff, really. It's a shame because her life was tragic with many ups and downs, but it was certainly not pointless. She had a huge and lasting impact on the music industry, and I'm sure, on her family and fans.




Yaya DaCosta and Arlen Escarpeta Star as Famed Couple

LOS ANGELES, CA (December 2, 2014) Golden Globe® Award winner and Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett makes her directorial debut with the Lifetime Original Movie Whitney, featuring Yaya DaCosta (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) in the lead role with Arlen Escarpeta (Final Destination 5) alongside her as Bobby Brown. The much-anticipated world premiere will be on Saturday, January 17, 2015, at 8pm ET/PT.
Whitney chronicles the headline-making relationship between the iconic singer, actress, producer and model Whitney Houston and singer and songwriter Bobby Brown from the time they first met at the very height of their celebrity to their courtship and tumultuous marriage. Throughout it all, difficulties followed the superstar couple while they dealt with the overwhelming rewards and consequences of the fame and fortune created by Houston’s meteoric rise that would soon overshadow them both.
Grumpy Cat & Meghan FIDM
Houston’s vocal performances in the film are sung by Grammy®-nominated and multiplatinum-selling entertainer Deborah Cox. The music featured in the film includes Houston’s hits “The Greatest Love of All,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” “I’m Every Woman” and “I Will Always Love You” as well as Brown’s “Every Little Step.”

Produced by The Sanitsky Company, Whitney is executive produced by Larry Sanitsky (Betty & Coretta). Shem Bitterman (Betty & Coretta) wrote the script.

Following the movie’s premiere, Lifetime will air the hour-long documentary Beyond the Headlines: Whitney Houston at 10pm, providing an in-depth look at the life and death of  Houston. Interviews with friends – including longtime friend Darlene Love – colleagues and industry insiders will offer personal reflections and insight into the life and career of this American songstress and the tragic circumstances of her downfall. Beyond the Headlines: Whitney Houston is produced by Peacock Productions.

The Red Tent
Lifetime is a premier female-focused entertainment destination dedicated to offering the highest-quality original programming that spans scripted series, nonfiction series and movies. As a result of the network’s aggressive programming strategy, which has doubled the hours of its original programming, 2013 marked Lifetime’s second straight year of growth among total viewers. Lifetime® Television, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime® Digital are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney/ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

©2014 Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC. All rights reserved. 1402.
It's Here! Watch the Trailer for Lifetime's Whitney Houston Movie


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