Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody is the latest biopic about Whitney Houston. This one was directed by Kasi Lemmons with the approval of Whitney’s family and the caretakers of her legacy. It tells her story with a focus on her voice and her talent.
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody uses Whitney’s own recordings rather than having the actor Naomi Ackie try to recreate something like Whitney’s sound. Having the blessing of the family made this possible and made it possible to include songs that haven’t been used in other biopics. (Here’s info on the soundtrack.)
All the credit in the world goes to Naomi Ackie for making the dubbed songs look good. She had Whitney’s mannerisms, even that way Whitney sort of unhinged her jaw to hit certain notes, down and perfect.
Tamara Tunie played Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother. Whitney’s father was played by Clarke Peters. The film explored her childhood, her early training with her mother. It looked at her dysfunctional early family life and the way her father cheated her after she became famous.
Cissy is the reason Whitney was first seen by Clive Davis (Stanley Tucci), who became her long time producer and supporter.
Whitney’s closeted relationship with Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams) was made explicit. Other biopics about her have kept it under wraps.
The film explored Whitney’s marriage to Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders), the birth of their daughter, and Whitney’s efforts to be a good mother.
There was no flinching away from the fact that the drugs were always there – even before Bobby Brown.
This film made an honest effort to tell the truth about Whitney Houston. In addition to that, it emphasized her talent, her voice, and her performances.
Many of her key performances were recreated in complete detail. Her gift, her talent, her voice – those are the reason she’s recognized all around the world as one of the greatest of all time. If you want to tell the truth about Whitney Houston it has to be more than the salacious gossip. It has to be the voice. I appreciate the vision from director Kasi Lemmons to tell the story that way.
Overall, I rate this film as well done and definitely worth watching. Right now it’s on Netflix.