Lifetime’s controversial Whitney Houston biopic, Whitney, proved to be a ratings draw for the network. The film, which was directed by Angela Bassett, attracted 4.5 million viewers and is the network’s most-watched telecast since the made-for-TV drama, Flowers in The Attic. However, despite being a commercial success, the film garnered mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. People who were expecting a train wreck were pleasantly surprised, however, they still had some bones to pick with the film.
The Daily Beast was one of the sites that expected the Whitney Houston biopic to flop, but they did have some kind words to say about the production. According to the review, the film “forces us to revisit, or maybe realize for the first time, how conflicted Houston was at the most successful time of her career”, while criticizing the film for being boring and not being thought-provoking.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 19, 2015
The New York Times also criticized the film’s structure, stating that cherry-picking key moments in Whitney Houston’s life and tying them together led to a “confusing” narrative. Billboard, on the other hand, voiced some concerns that the film focuses too much on Bobby Brown’s point of view when it comes to their relationship.
Whitney Houston’s estate expressed their disapproval of the film. The late singer’s sister-in-law, Pat Houston, slammed the biopic even before it aired. In a statement released by Pat, she says, “You should expect people will always rise to the occasion for prominence and profit … not love, respect or honor … I question the morality of the making of this because of the lack of experience knowing Whitney’s life.”
— Radar Online (@radar_online) January 17, 2015
Whitney also made social media rounds when fans tweeted their reactions to the film’s gratuitous sex scenes as well as scenes of Whitney taking drugs. One disappointed fan even tweeted, “This @lifetimetv movie doesn’t do Whitney Houston’s legacy any justice, so far it’s only sex & Cocaine #Whitney #WhitneyHoustonMovie”.
— Joe Baker ✈ (@jlbakerinc) January 18, 2015
— s. (@_born2runn) January 18, 2015
— Mrs. Carter (@Curvy_Boricua) January 18, 2015
Ok I’m not sure how I feel about this #whitney houston movie lifetime
— WinterBorn♓✌❄ Feb 28 (@FebruarysStory) January 18, 2015
so who’s gonna make an actual Whitney Houston movie and focus on her career and positive side of life and not drugs and Bobby Brown
— Jason Mansfielde (@JasonMansfielde) January 17, 2015
The Whitney Houston movie come out Saturday. Lifetime need to stop cause clearly they don’t know what they doing
— BRiANA (@itsbribell) January 16, 2015