You just have to whisper it and the name Whitney Houston instantly conjures up the image of a singer with planetary success. A diva with a soaring voice whose track I will Always Love You (the bestselling single by a female vocalist of all time) who remains the most popular power ballad ambassador ever. Whitney Houston is 200 million albums sold and the record holder for the most consecutive numbers 1s. But behind the icon hides another woman with a tragic destiny, dehumanised by scandals gleefully raked over by the tabloid press.
Soberly titled Whitney, the documentary presented by film maker Kevin MacDonald out of competition at Cannes focuses on understanding the mysterious character of this singer who was found drowned in her bath tub in 2012. Without taboo, Whitney, looks back at the career of an artist under the spotlight through her live performances, previously unseen images and interviews with her friends and family.
Kevin MacDonald wasn’t a particularly big fan of the singer, but he was won over by Nicole David, Whitney Houston’s former agent who he met at the Sundance Festival in 2016. Galvanised by the necessary investigation to make this documentary, Kevin MacDonald finally collaborated with Whitney Houston’s nearest and dearest to deliver the most faithful portrait possible. He kept a stranglehold on the final cut and with it comes a shocking revelation. Because in the last two weeks of editing, the director discovered a heavy secret, a painful memory that Whitney Houston had kept hidden all her life.