Mojo (UK)

Whitney: Can I Be Me?

- Andrew Male

DIR: NICK BROOMFIELD. CD/DVD

Kurt And Courtney director calms it down for his profile of the tragic soul singer.

The star of Nick Broomfield’s films has always been Nick Broomfield. Headphones askew, boom mike outthrust, his calm-attack-dog presence letting us know documentar­y films never do run smooth. A little of that wouldn’t have gone amiss in this compromise­d yet powerful film. Relying heavily on previously unreleased footage of Houston’s 1999 World Tour (her last), Broomfield looks at how race, class, gender, along with fame, drugs and record industry demands all played a role in Whitney’s heartbreak­ing fall. However, Houston’s former husband, Bobby Brown, and Robyn Crawford, her childhood friend and PA, both refused to participat­e, and Broomfield was also unable to use clips from the damning 2005 reality show Being Bobby Brown. Without these vital pieces of the jigsaw, the tragedy of Can I Be Me? is increased – the answers are out there but we can only look on helplessly as events unfold.

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