Whitney: Can I Be Me (DVD) – Documentary Review
Follow Genre: Documentary
Director: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal
Distributor: Periscoop Film
Duration: 105 minutes

Whitney: Can I Be Me (DVD) – Documentary Review

Site Score
Good: Told by those close to her
Bad: Nothing worth mentioning
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(3 votes)
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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Who doesn’t know her: Whitney Houston, the black pop singer who scored one number one hit after the other in the eighties and nineties. Being the icon that she was, it must have come as a shock to many to find out about her tragic death, yet maybe for others, not so much. The title of this documentary about her life ‘Can I Be Me’ already says a lot about what you’re about to see, which is sadly not a happy story.


The documentary shows a chronological account of the singer’s life, starting with her as a young girl, singing in her local church. Later, the real success came when she was noticed by record label Arista Records. Instead of singing more r&b, she was pushed more into the direction of pop music, which turned out to be a huge success. She was more or less the first black woman to be so successful in pop music, scoring seven consecutive number one hits, and several others after that.

Once her success starts booming, she also starts acting, with The Bodyguard by far the most successful film she ever played in. Meanwhile, she also got to know Bobby Brown, whom she later married and had a daughter with. But what looked good on the outside, wasn’t as good in real life. Drugs, uncertainty, rivalry between her husband and her best friend Robyn, her always having to put on a show, it took its toll.

The documentary seems to bring an honest story of Whitney’s life, mainly during the time she was in the spotlight. Her friends, colleagues and family are interviewed, while footage that has never been showed before, is molded into this documentary. As they are people who were so close to Whitney telling their story, the documentary feels very genuine, and gives a good insight into her life backstage.

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What it comes down to, and sadly we’ve seen it before with other super stars as well, is that she wasn’t able to just be herself, do her thing, as her friends and family worked for her and thus depended on her fame, and the record company just wanted to sell. It all looks nice on the outside, but this documentary really showed us the flip side of a life in the spotlight. Whitney appears to have been a woman with very simple needs, namely having the chance to be loved, and to be herself. It’s sad to see that in the end, she got none.

No extras are included in this documentary, which only feels right, since everything that needed to be said was already said in the documentary itself. Maybe some video clips of her songs could have been included, but then again, her music already steps to the foreground in the documentary, so it’s not really needed to add it once more.


Whitney: Can I Be Me gives an honest view on Whitney Houston’s life, seen through the eyes of those who were closest to her. It’s a sad story, but it’s brought well, which is a good thing for fans who want to know more about their favorite singer. As far as we’re concerned, this is certainly worth it to spend your time on.

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Whitney: Can I Be Me (DVD) - Documentary Review, 7.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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