Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody is the latest in music biopics that depicts the rise, trials, and tribulations of the beloved pop star, Whitney Houston. The film dives into the technicalities of her career and the relationships of those closely associated with her, while also exploring the darker and more troubling side of her life, all while attempting to honor legacy.
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As someone who went in with very little knowledge about Whitney Houston or her life, I honestly had a blast watching it. Naomi Ackie’s performance was a joy to watch and won me over with her charm. And while it was the original tracks of the songs and not Ackie singing herself, she managed to exude an exciting amount of charisma through the stage performance scenes. Meanwhile, Stanley Tucci as the caring and protective manager steals our hearts with his genuine performance, and the energy and tone of the film remains well-supported by the likes of Tamara Tunie, Clarke Peters, Nafessa Williams, and Ashton Sanders.
Much of the film is visually impressive and was a ton of fun to watch as we watch the life of Whitney Houston pass on by. From early beginnings to music videos, to Whitney standing up for herself, up until the very difficult moments of her life, it was quite the ride. As far as biopics go, this one is straightforward and linear, but I think that’s where my issues begin to rise.
There’s definitely a need to be as delicate as possible when handling the darker moments of any iconic person’s life, but that doesn’t always mean it’s going to land well. In the case of I Wanna Dance With Somebody, the film absolutely addresses Houston’s image on all fronts and the effects of her actions with regards to all of her relationships.
But it’s an odd feeling to see so much glitz and glam attached to parts of her life when the harsh reality is that these moments were ugly and damaging. It’s as if there’s a veil draped over them where you can see how bad it was but you can’t see how far it got.
It’s movies like this that make me feel as if I’d rather have a music documentary that might provide a much more authentic look into the life of these beloved artists. As the fad of music biopics continues, I simply wonder how long it’ll last before we collectively grow tired of them. But if I Wanna Dance With Somebody were to be the last of the fad, then I’d be content. While it’s not perfect, I do think it does an honest attempt to depict Houston’s life. It still remains an enjoyable and entertaining film that’ll get you dancing in your seat and belting out a Whitney Houston classic on the car ride home.
White Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody receives 3 out of 5 Samosas.
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody is now playing in theaters.
Runtime: 2h 26m