Review: Whitney Houston’s Complex Life, Stunning Highs and Lows, Captured in New Film, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”

It’s not easy to make a single movie about Whitney Houston. The late great singer had so many highs and lows before her death in 2012 at age 48, a soup to nuts biopic would seem daunting.

And yet, Kasi Lemmons has made a very triumphant film with a screenplay by Anthony McCarten. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” very deftly manages Houston’s skyrocketing career counterpointed by her difficult family life and eventual descent into drugs.

The film’s accomplishments are often surprising, starting with Naomi Ackie’s take on Houston’s turbulence. Ackie has a fine voice of her own, and she often uses it throughout the film. But the majority of the singing is from Whitney herself, Luckily Clive Davis — who’s a character in the film played kind of brilliantly by Stanley Tucci — is also a producer. So he’s brought all of Whitney’s sizzling live recordings to the film, which Ackie seamlessly lip syncs.

READ MORE in Show Biz 411

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