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Movie Review – I Wanna Dance With Somebody

By: Carrie Buchanan


I took myself to the movies last night for a chance to watch the life of Whitney Houston unfold on the big screen.  Some movies you need the theatre.  Big screen.  Big sound.

There was a handful of us there for the final showing of the movie that opened just before Christmas.  I was hoping for an experience that was as good as the Elvis movie was.  I was interested in experiencing the life of Whitney Houston.  Her rise to fame.  Her struggles.  Her triumphs.

The movie was nearly 2 and a half hours long and I left disappointed.  Maybe because the Elvis movie was so good I had high expectations.  I wanted to see and feel Whitney.

It started with her getting tricked into performing in front of the legendary music producer Clive Davis.  Her mother was also a performer, but never got the level of success and fame that she wanted.  Whitney would perform in church, and she would perform at a small club with her mother.   Clive was in the audience when Whitney performed in place of her mother and her first record contract happened.

She never wrote her own music, but always looked for music that she could relate to.  Like Elvis, and so many other celebrities that got fame and fortune, Whitney’s story didn’t seem much different.  Her dad spent most of her money, forcing her to make more albums, and tour even when she wanted to be home with her daughter.  Her mother pushed her hard at the beginning to get the fame and success she never did.  Her parents marriage was rough. Lots of fighting.  She married into an abusive relationship herself with Bobby Brown.

She got lost in drug addiction, and it pretty much seemed to cost her her career in the end.  Or it would have.  If she hadn’t died so young.

They seemed to ignore that or skip over that in the movie. I wasn’t happy with the ending.  We know what happened, but it wasn’t there on the screen other than in words after the movie was done. I was hoping for a bit more.

I was disappointed that Whitney’s music, pictures/ video footage wasn’t shown until after the credits were rolling and people were leaving the theatre.  I was the last one standing to stare up at the screen with a few tears for this incredibly talented woman who was gone too soon.

I was left wanting more.  More of a connection.  Naomi Ackie who portrayed the star was good but not the same level as Whitney.  But really, who could be? Nobody.

I think they gave us a lot in the movie, but I’m pretty sure there is so much more to her story we will never know. Overall, I found it a bit confusing.  Hard to follow along at times.  Especially the end.  But I’m glad I saw it.  For me Whitney was a force.  Strong.  Powerful.  But seeing the story of the behind the scenes you get a sense of the sadness that comes with it.  The pressure.  The bad influences.   Giving into the stress of it all.

When I was young I thought I wanted to be like Whitney.  Or Madonna or Cyndi Lauper.  I loved watching them sing and singing along by myself as I listened to their music.

A reminder that fame and money don’t equal happiness and sometimes even the people closest to you, who you think would love and protect you – don’t.

If you love her music, are curious about her life – watch it.  If you get the chance.

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