The joyous, emotional, heartbreaking celebration of the life and music of Whitney Houston, the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time. Tracking her journey from obscurity to musical superstardom.
Runtime: 146 minutes
Genre: Drama, History, Music
Stars: Naomi Ackie, Ashton Sanders, Stanley Tucci, Nafessa Williams, Lance A. Williams, Tamara Tunie, Clarke Peters, Daniel Washington, JaQuan Malik Jones, Kris Sidberry, Bailee Lopes, Bria Danielle Singleton, Adrian M. Mompoint, Coffey, Stew Replogle, Chanel Rose Connor, Sean Amos, Jon F. Merz
Director: Kasi Lemmons
nogodnomasters - 12 January 2023 The Voice The film opens with a quick 1994 American Music Awards teaser and quickly goes to New Jersey 1983. Whitney (Naomi Ackie) is being voice trained by her famous mother Cissy (Tamara Tunie) who instructs her to sing from the head, heart, and gut. Every song tells a story which is what the film does, using Whitney's songs juxtaposition with her life. It does not shy away from the negative things in her life. Her father (Clarke Peters) is easily added to the list of bad father managers. Whitney's love for Robyn (Nafessa Williams) is strongly hinted at and her relationship with Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders) clearly shows they were a bad match. It portrayed him at worst as an enabler and stated Whitney had drug issues before Bobby Brown and implied her death was accidental.
The film concentrated on the music. It didn't skimp on any songs and clearly they had marketing of the sound track in mind as all the songs were done completely. No quick riffs. Worth watching for the music alone. It is two hours you will never get back and won't want to.
Guide: F-word. No sex or nudity.
chaunnahill - 11 January 2023 I had to watch this but didnt have to Love it I adored Whitney. Her sad demise still brings tears to my eyes. She was an absolutely beautiful woman. I have watched many documentaries and read Robyn's book. Naomi's performance was excellent. It was quite amazing but I dont think this movie was done well. In this Netflix generation that we are in, we always want more and this movie gives us less. It jumped around like a rabbit on crack. I know that we all love her performances but there was too much of that and not enough substance. This needs to be done again as a Netflix epi show and I wouldnt be mad if Naomi gets the part again. I needed more of Whitneys heart, more depth, more good times and bad. The true life connections and disconnections were just not there for me. Netflix, come on, you can do ths true justice. Love you Nippy.
ethanbresnett - 11 January 2023 A good biopic but lacking that extra something special I Wanna Dance With Somebody is a bit hit and miss for me.
The big hit is Naomi Ackie's performance. I was completely transported and absorbed by her portrayal of Whitney, and thought she handled the role perfectly. Obviously the music was always going to be great so that's another real point in this film's favour.
The miss for me comes in the form of the structure and storytelling. There is always a balance to strike in a musical biopic between how much you focus on the music and how much you focus on the person. For me this film got this balance wrong and spent too long showing full performances of Whitney and showing off her voice. We know she had an incredible voice, and as great as it is to hear it over and over, I would have liked to dig down into the woman herself even more.
When we dig down into her personal life, her relationship with Bobby Brown, her relationship with her mother and father, her treatment by the press and her drug issues, everything felt very surface level. Particularly the latter two.
I appreciate that the film perhaps didn't want to tread too heavily down these dark avenues which is entirely reasonable, but it does mean the film lacks punch at times. As a result the highs are never particularly high and the lows are never too low which diminishes the impact of the film.
I did also think that the film was a tad too long and could have been trimmed by 10 minutes at least.
Considering there are so many musical biopics these days I can't help but compare this film to others that have hit the screens in recent years such as Elvis, Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, and this is easily lagging behind in this pack. Still, it boasts a terrific performance from Ackie, a great soundtrack, and several powerful moments. However as a whole the film does feel rather muted.
Lewzopowers - 11 January 2023 My al times favourite singer It doesn't matter if not everything is 100% accurate. Perhaps, family likes to keep some few things out before you rate under 5.
Naomi embodied Whitney SOOOOO well, whitney would have been proud of her. Story was great, it was still sad Whitney life was over too young. She was the biggest selling artist and most successful singer. I'm just glad to see a movie about her, end of.
I cried couple of times cos it's hard to see how difficult her life was and it's never that easy to start fresh with lack of support. Things could have been handled better, her husband Bobby was awful and huge mistake to be with. Whatever happened, I'm always proud of Whitney and she'll always be my favourite girl.
Queenie04 - 11 January 2023 Oscar performance by Naomi Ackie I wasn't excpecting to love this film as much as I did. First thing to point out is the music; They have incorporated an important amount of live performances in this biopic! And could they have not?? This is a Whitney Houston's biopic, I cannot understand how people could think there were too many songs in this film. If I don't hear Whitney Houston's voice most of the film then what is even the point?
I think there was a certain humility and kindness in the way she was portrayed. The drug abuse, the alcohol, the toxic relationship etc... Was not shown in a tabloïd like manner, there was no voyeurism in it, it was very sad and moving but they gave Whitney Houston dignity and I think it's the most important thing.
I think Naomi Ackie did the most brilliant and authentic portrait of Whitney. And she will definitely get a Golden Globes and Oscar nomination!! She deserves it!!
ta-98251 - 10 January 2023 The Voice of a Generation This was emotional from the start simply because you view every scene with the end in mind. That meant that even the happy moments felt somewhat sad.
Two things really elevated this film. Firstly Whitney's catalogue of music is sensational. Listening to each song was like watching a movie in itself. Secondly, Naomi Ackie as Whitney was great. Her present of screen was beautiful. Many of favourite moments in the film were close ups Naomi singing Whitney's songs. Her face and features carried untold amounts of emotions.
I Wanna Dance with Somebody maps the rise and fall of Whitney Houston's career. Whilst you don't get an in-depth look into any one area of her life you see a bit of everything. Her being raised by a mother in the profession, her parent's relationships and her romantic relationships including sides which were new to me.
The film is two hours and twenty minutes mainly because we are given permission to indulge in her performances. This is where the film shines as a celebration of Whitney's work. To that end, whilst the film touches on all areas of Whitney's life, it holds back from showing any more than it has to in some of the negative areas. This isn't meant to a sad gritty look into the life of Whitney Houston but more a celebration into what she achieved and what she went through along the way. Stanley Tucci was also very good as Whitney's manager Clive Davis. One gripe is that the CGI in the stadium shows was below par which almost snapped you out of the performances.
I recommend it to all especially anybody who is a fan of Music or Whitney.
sclarkjohnson - 10 January 2023 A beautiful, sad, but entertaining movie about a great singer Very good movie, with great music and an interesting story. Details coming, but I'll first digress a bit and comment on "Professional critic" reviews on 'I Wanna Dance with Somebody'.
For example, another online movie review system separates its reviews into two categories - 1) Critics and 2) Audience. I have determined, without fail, that if a movie has a Critic low rating and an Audience high rating, then my wife and I will really enjoy that movie. The opposite is equally true - high Critic reviews with low Audience scores, are boring, mundane movies about the misery of life.
So, back to 'I Want to Dance with Somebody', why did many "pro" critics often bash it ? I truly believe that pro critics do caucus and agree on their overall appraisal of a movie. Possibly the word "agree" is a bit strong. Instead, it may be peer pressure to all rate a specific movie poorly, because it does not reinforce their social agenda.
'Dance' told a very interesting story about the music and life of Whitney Houston. She had a talent that very few have, a range of vocal ability so broad that she was nicknamed "The Voice". Her life story was often beautiful and often tragic, conflicted by two arguing parents, her drug-dependent husband, and pressures from fans and detractors.
Along the way, she achieved many gold records, many awards, and fans all over the world. This movie shows that contrast better detail than most of us already knew. Whitney Houston did have two strong supporters every step - her best friend and her producer.
The pros gave it a 45% rating; the Audience gave it a 92% rating. Why such a big difference ?
I believe because the movie did not service the social agenda that pro reviewers always have. Whitney Houston described herself, when pressed by media, as a singer. Not a black singer, not a white singer, but as a singer, possibly as Neil Diamond would have done. A singer.
'I Want to Dance with Somebody' is a beautiful, sad, but entertaining movie about one of the greatest American singers ever.
andrasrapli - 10 January 2023 A missed shot If Whitney was in fact this big voice, "The Voice", then she really does not deserve this shallow and boring representation of her life. I bet there are details, which could've been expressed way more movie-like fashion. Seriously, family fights, alcohol, drug abuse, and the movie became this flat? A high school storyteller could've done better. Cmon. There are already good movies on Lady Gaga and Queen, feels like they got on the money train and wanted to put this out, grab some cash and fade away. A tell you what, this will definitely fade away in the movie history. A very long YouTube music video I would quit in the middle.
spartan-52039 - 10 January 2023 Pretty damn good for fans of Whitney I think if you are someone already pretty familiar with Whitney Houston's story then you will love it. The casting was magnificent. The film chose to offer new perspectives on Whitney's story, I'd give it a 10 if they had chosen not to water down certain parts of Whitney's story. They seemed to want the movie to be more of a feel good story, that left audiences feeling happy. While they did seem to try their best to tell an accurate story, they maybe wanted to keep the drama to a minimum (I'll leave it at that). Overall the focus seemed to be Whitneys music and impact. The film did a wonderful job of showing what her music meant to her as well as her fans!
r96sk - 10 January 2023 A well done flick, I'd say A well done flick, I'd say.
I didn't even know this existed until I was invited a week or two back to go watch it, which is a surprise as I'd imagine a Whitney Houston biopic would've got enough hype that I would've seen it mentioned around the web - perhaps I just happened to miss it? Either way, I'd very much recommend 'Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody'.
I'm no Houston brainiac but of course knew of her top songs and unfortunate personal issues, I feel like the film does a commendable job at covering all aspects - the pacing is top notch, in my opinion. I'd imagine it takes liberties with the truth, as per for this genre, here and there, but that doesn't bother me much if so.
Naomi Ackie is terrific in the lead role, quite the first performance of her's to watch on my part. I hope to see more! The rest of the cast, from Stanley Tucci to Ashton Sanders to Tamara Tunie to Nafessa Williams to Clarke Peters, particularly the latter, are also very good throughout.
I found the run time to be spot on, while the music is - as you'd expect - excellent. Houston sure did make a tonne of hits!
jboothmillard - 10 January 2023 I Wanna Dance with Somebody When I saw the trailer for a biopic about one of the greatest voices in pop music, I was naturally excited, and being from the screenwriter of Bohemian Rhapsody made it more appealing as well, produced by Whitney's manager Clive Davis, directed by Candyman actress Kasi Lemmons. Basically, in New Jersey 1983, Whitney Houston (Naomi Ackie, also producing) sings as part of a church choir, led by her mother Cissy (Tamara Tunie), a professional singer. Cissy can be hard on Whitney at times but wants better things for her. Whitney forms a friendship with Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams), which turns romantic and the two go on to move in together, much to her religious mother's dismay. Cissy is due to perform one evening, but she sees record producer Clive Davis (Stanley Tucci) in the audience. She fakes being ill and encourages Whitney to take her place, and she performs "The Greatest Love of All". Davis is impressed and has Whitney sign a record deal with Arista and she gets her first major performance singing "Home" on The Merv Griffin Show. Whitney's career takes off and she starts her own label, Nippy Inc. Whitney wants Robyn to become her assistant, but her overbearing and strict father and her self-appointed manager John (Clarke Peters) objects. He takes exception to their personal relationship and tells them to go on dates with men, which Robyn refuses to do. Whitney records "If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful" with Jermaine Jackson (Jaison Hunter), whom she ends up sleeping with. Robyn is upset and jealous, their romantic relationship crumbles, but they remain close friends. Whitney becomes a worldwide superstar, appealing to all demographics, following the release of singles like "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)". However, she faces criticism for selling out and not sounding "black enough". At the 1988 Soul Train Music Awards, Whitney is booed when Anita Baker (Lynn Leger) announces her as one of the nominees for Best Music Video. She loses to Janet Jackson but is comforted by R&B singer Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders) and the two began dating. Bobby eventually proposes to her but is upset when he tells her that he has gotten a former girlfriend pregnant. Whitney is enraged and storms out of their limousine onto a busy road, but they reconcile. In 1991, Whitney performs the National Anthem at 25th Super Bowl, earning an incredible reception. Clive suggests Whitney should consider acting in a movie and postpones her own wedding with Bobby to star in The Bodyguard alongside Kevin Costner. During filming, she suffers a miscarriage, but returns to the project and records a cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" for the movie's soundtrack (1992 Christmas Number One in the UK). She later marries Bobby and the following year they have a baby daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. In 1994, Whitney performs at a concert for Nelson Mandela's release from prison and goes on tour. Exhausted from performing, Whitney demands to return home to be with her family. But at home, Whitney and Bobby are fighting, with one argument becoming almost physical, which results in her throwing him out of the house and developing a drug addiction. In 1998, Whitney she has released seven major songs and starred in three motion pictures but has not released a new album in eight years. Unhappy with Bobby, she decides to record "Why Does It Hurt So Bad", despite rejecting it several times in the past due to not connecting with the song's message. Whitney confronts her father John about access to her money and spending too much of it on expensive gifts, and she learns that he is negotiating a new deal with Arista Records. Whitney suffers insomnia and goes to see Clive at his hotel to discuss new music and playing "It's Not Right But It's Okay", she goes on to release a new album and goes on tour. The tour is exhausting, and Whitney's mental and physical health begins to decline. Her drug addiction causes problems for her voice, and her turbulent relationship with Bobby is in the news everywhere. During a visit with Clive, he urges her to go into rehabilitation, but she refuses. Near the end of the tour, Robyn fights with Bobby and attempts to get Whitney to return home. While Whitney chooses to continue the tour, Robyn leaves Nippy Inc., but not before telling her that her father is in the hospital. Whitney visits her father in the hospital which turns sour when the topic of money comes up, and she tells him her sister-in-law Pat (Kris Sidberry) will replace him as manager and ultimately cuts ties with him. When John dies Whitney does not attend his funeral. Cissy finds Whitney riddled with drugs and calls for the police to take her to rehab. She eventually becomes clean, reconnects with her daughter, and divorces Bobby. In 2009, she attempts a comeback with a new album and performs "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is met with a standing ovation. After the show, Clive visits her and she tells him that she is interested in touring again, but he advises her to rest. But Whitney ignores him and tours Europe, but it is disastrous, with fans walking out her of her shows and demanding refunds, due to her failing voice and stage performance. In February 2012, Whitney is in Los Angeles to perform at a pre-Grammy ceremony. Her bassist Rickey Minor (Dave Heard) advises her to call off the performance and rest, but she declines and is optimistic. At the Beverly Hilton hotel, she and Bobbi Kristina are preparing for the ceremony the following day, when she goes to the lobby to meet with her drug dealer. She goes to the bar and meets a bartender and long-time fan, and the two remininesce about her 1994 American Music Awards performance. Later, alone in her bathroom, Whitney cries and starts a bath, quietly singing to herself. She sits and prepares her drugs and looks back on the highlights of her life and career. It ends with Whitney performing in 1994 at the American Music Awards, singing a medley of "I Loves You, Porgy", "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "I Have Nothing", which is met with a standing ovation. Also starring Daniel Washington as Gary Houston, Bailee Lopes as Bobbi Kristina (8-11 years old), Bria Danielle Singleton as Bobbi Kristina (16-19 years old), JaQuan Malik Jones as Michael Houston, and Paul Held as Merv Griffin. British actress Ackie looks spot on as the famous singer in the various stages of her life and career, Sanders does well as her loving but sometimes aggressive husband, and Tucci is well cast as her manager who tries not to interfere unless necessary. The recreations of Whitney's most famous moments, especially the music videos, are impressive, as are the makeup and costumes, and obviously if you are a fan of the songs, you enjoy singing along. The problem, being a 12 certificate, is that they only skim over the problems Whitney had with domestic abuse with Bobby Brown, her use of crack cocaine, and her tragic death from drowning whilst using drugs. Long term fans might find out things they never knew before, e.g. Whitney's lesbian relationship, her father's control over her fortune, it is certainly an interesting and entertaining enough celebration of the talents of one of the greatest and successful vocalists of all time, an alright biographical musical drama. Worth watching!
curtwes - 9 January 2023 DISRESPECT TO THE GREAT WHITNEY HOUSTON This movie was a slap in the face to the great Whitney Houston. It was an insult to her talent as well as her legacy. The film was low budget as well as the actors and actresses. Only in America can white people tarnish the image of black icons and be rewarded. A d shame and to all the people who actually participated in this atrocity of a film you all should be a shame of yourselves. Whitney was literally the Princess of Pop, she came into the industry and blew the roof off. She was undeniably the most unique being, her voice was truly one of a kind and there will never ever be another. Bad m.
xianslad - 8 January 2023 Very fun movie to watch if you love whitney houston "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" is a biographical drama film about Whitney Houston, one of the generation's greatest vocal singers. The film was directed by Kasi Lemmons, who wrote about Houston's life history before her death. It was well-directed to develop a well-told story. A rollercoaster of decisions Whitney Houston made in her life as a well-known singer was depicted in this intriguing film. When she sang, she engendered a feeling of excitement and joy. The movie portrayed Houston's life and the challenges she experienced, such as her drug addiction, her divorce from her spouse, her inability to decide which gender she prefers, and her father's passing. The Black community and the LGBTQ community were given notice. Many want her to change, stop being gay, and start making black music. Her decision to be herself and not borrow ideas from others was amusing. Seeing how they create it is exciting because the filming methods give me a solid sense of what I'm watching. All the actors performed outstandingly, especially the lead (Naomi Ackie). This is worth seeing and should be noticed due to the critical meaning of famous people's lifestyles and how they can change someone. I found this film compelling and will get your attention because of the songs used.
Birminghamukengland - 7 January 2023 Four words: Naomi Ackie Oscar Winner I loved every second of this.
I had not heard of Naomi before but WOW, she absolutely embodied Whitney and she totally deserves every award there is. What a gifted actor, perfection.
The production, direction, cinematography, story telling and acting are all first class.
I learnt a lot during this movie and her relationship with Robin was beautiful, how sad they could not be together for life. If they had I'm sure she'd be with us now as Robyn looked out for her like no one else did.
I'm so glad the producers didn't use anything other than Whitney's voice as no one on earth can match it.
The medley at the end caused me to weep and the film just reignited my love for, in my opinion the best singer and performer who ever walked this earth.