Whitney: Can I Be Me, is the posthumous documentary about one of the greatest singers of all time. A multi award winning artist, who had more consecutive number ones than The Beatles; a millionaire, someone who opened the door for a Black woman to be considered the Queen of Pop, influencing the likes of Mariah Carey, Beyoncé and more.
As with any documentary or biopic, so much could go wrong, right? Fortunately … this time it doesn’t.
As a Whitney fan, I’ll be honest and say I was a little nervous at how she may be portrayed. However, I was gripped all the way through this film. Even having previously seen some of the archival footage used in this documentary, the Whitney we were shown via reality TV, interviews, music videos, is reframed by this film. My favourite moments are when Whitney speaks; at moments fully aware and others she’s totally unaware of the camera.
Brought to us by award winning documentary maker Nick Bloomfield, (Biggie & Tupac, 2002 – which often features Broomfield in front of the camera conducting interviews) Whitney: Can I Be Me takes a candid look at the rise and fall of Whitney Houston holistically as a superstar, daughter, sister, wife, mother, addict and friend. Just as Whitney becoming the most awarded female singer of all time is inevitable, so does her sudden death at forty-eight years of age. The film is a salute to a global icon, an exceptional musician who ironically never got to dance to her own tune.
As alluded above, Broomfield is known for appearing in front of the camera in his documentaries but in this, he kept himself off screen. This was a sensible move, because what he has delivered is a portrait that treats Whitney Houston with the tenderness and respect she deserves. As sad as it is satisfying, it begs the question, if Whitney had received more of that whilst alive, would she still be with us today?
Special Exclusive Preview Screenings
Sunday 11th June, 6pm – *UK Premiere* followed with remote director Q&A and tribute performance by Michelle John from The Voice. Caramel Film Club has secured 45% discounted tickets. Find out more here.
Monday 12th June, 6pm – The British Blacklist host a screening and Q&A with director Nick Broomfield in person, hosted by Be Manzini at the Curzon Soho as part of their DocDays programme. Get your tickets here.