That’s contrasted with highlights that exhibit her otherworldly talent, from her spine-tingling rendition of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl to her very first TV appearance on Merv Griffin’s show in 1983.
There’s also a fair amount of time devoted to Houston’s relationship with her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, who died three years after her mother, compounding the sadness surrounding Houston’s death at the age of 48 into a double tragedy.
Macdonald zeroes in on those who exploited Houston, and there are new revelations here, including accusations that a relative abused her as a child. But it all connects back to a tabloid culture that dogged her in life and remains fascinated by her more than six years after her death.
“Whitney” does bring viewers closer to the star — in a way the otherwise superior “Whitney. Can I Be Me” couldn’t — by presenting an abundance of unguarded behind-the-scenes glimpses, whether she’s playfully bantering with her entourage or badmouthing pop stars like Paula Abdul.
Ultimately, though, the latest documentary overreaches to make Houston’s life and death about something bigger, in a way that at times feels as strained as some of the notes during that aforementioned comeback.
“Whitney” premieres July 6 in the U.S.