Lifetime is back with an all new biopic of another iconic figure in pop culture. This time, it's all about Whitney Houston. Whitney, the Lifetime movie directed by Angela Bassett, premieres on Saturday night and chronicles Houston's romance with Bobby Brown. The film starts as Houston is reaching new heights in her career. She's already won a few Grammys and established herself as one of the best voices of the generation. Whitney sets the stage accurately, with the two performers meeting at the 1989 Soul Train Awards. But the film ends before the deterioration of the couple in the public eye, and chooses not to portray Houston's tragic death in 2012. Even though Whitney is about Houston and Brown's tumultuous romance, the film ends in 1994, only giving glimpses of the destructive nature of their relationship. We do see some scenes of drug use from both artists and adultery by Brown, but there is still so much the movie missed out on showing its audience.
For starters, Whitney only very briefly alludes to the trouble Brown had already gotten into before meeting Houston. He had a reputation as being bad and lived up to it, as reported by Vanity Fair, with a past that included heroin use, beating up a man at Disney World, and prison visits.
At the beginning, the couple worked for each other. Houston seemed to bring a sweeter, more caring side out of Brown, while Brown provided Houston with an edgier, creative streak. This is an aspect of the romance the movie very clearly shows. Whitney also doesn't scrimp on showing the passion the couple shared, as the film has two rather long and risque sex scenes.
What the film did omit, however, is the quick escalation of Houston and Brown's drug use, especially after the birth of their daughter Bobbi Kristina in 1993. This is something Houston discussed herself in the 2009 interview with Oprah below, during which she stated that she and Brown had been lacing their joints with cocaine. And while the drug use would cause her to sit around in her PJs, doing nothing but watching TV, for Brown, the results of their extreme drug use brought out a violent and scary side.
Houston's image also began deteriorating. She told Rolling Stone magazine in 1993 that she could get "real raunchy" and that it was thanks to Brown making her "freer." In 1994 she was late to the White House state dinner, in 1997 MTV reported that she had been missing scheduled appearances, and was charged with pot possession in Hawaii in 2000.
Brown recently opened up about the relationship as well, mere days before the premiere of Whitney. He stated in a preview for his Saturday night Lifetime special that both he and Houston made mistakes and that they cheated on each other. The rest of the singer's interview about his life with Houston airs after Whitney at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. We may never know the true extent of what happened between the couple, but Whitney could have at least attempted to show their later struggles, rather than falsely painting a largely positive portrait.
Image: Jack Zeman/Lifetime