Everyone knows biopics are hit and miss. There have been tons of examples throughout the years of quality movies that perfectly represent the life and times of immortalized figures in popular culture. These examples include The King’s Speech (King George VI), Goodfellas (Henry Hill), Walk The Line (Johnny Cash), Aviator (Howard Hughes) etc. etc. All these flicks did a great job of showing the figure’s realism and overall impact on our culture. On the other hand, there are biopics that do the opposite of what they are supposed to do. They end up tarnishing the figure’s reputation and leave audiences with more questions than answers. These examples include The Runaways (Joan Jett), Beyond The Sea (Bobby Darin) and Amelia (Amelia Earhart).
This past month, Lifetime Network released their biopic about the late and legendary Whitney Houston. There has been lots of controversy surrounding the TV movie including its supposed “inaccurate” representation of Whitney and husband Bobby Brown’s relationship and of course its potential influence on Bobbi Kristina Brown’s recent hospitalization. But despite these accusations, the movie got did get a few things right.
Airing roughly around three years after Whitney Houston’s tragic death, this biopic does a great job of getting the music right on. The actress portraying Whitney, Yaya DaCosta, gives a surprisingly authentic performance that captures what most people think Whitney would be like. She also sings her heart out which is what Whitney will be remembered for more so than anything else.Did we mention how spot on Yaya looks to Whitney? It’s scary close. But in all seriousness, she does a solid job of portraying one of the world’s most beloved talents. From the small cadences and mannerisms to the pitch perfect rendition of “I Will Always Love You”, DaCosta hits everything we love about Whitney right on the nose.
The biopics downfall, however, shows itself through the storytelling. The biopic really only focuses on the peak years of Whitney’s career. Sure, seeing the height of her greatness is important but we’ve already got a pretty good idea of what that was like. A focus on the untold story of the early years could have made for better reception. Director Angela Bassett also seemed to include a lot of Bobby Brown (played by Arlen Escarpeta). Obviously Bobby Brown was a major part of Whitney Houston’s life but it seemed like the movie was focused more on their strenuous relationship and drug habits then Whitney’s music career.
All in all, Whitney’s biopic doesn’t spin her legacy either way. Her bad habits and troubling moments shown in the movie aren’t, and shouldn’t be, news to anyone. On the same token, the movie highlights Whitney’s unbelievable talent and passion for music, which is something she will always be remembered for regardless of the biopic.