Set to premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival today, the new Kevin Macdonald documentary Whitney delves into the life of Whitney Houston, peaking into unseen corners through rare footage of the artist herself and through the lenses of those closest to her. The trailer for Whitney places “heart” as a pivotal point in the documentary, which is appropriate, as it is the first Whitney Houston documentary to be made with the permission of the Houston family estate.
The film, which will make its theatrical debut on July 6, incorporates features like never-before-seen archival footage and rare performances to wrap viewers into Houston’s life. Through interviews with those who knew her best, intimate topics like “Do you think she understood herself?” and “You must have known about the drug use,” are broached.
One moment shows fans running in a concert venue to secure a good view and another moment sees Houston in a sparkly dress saying, “I had fun, and that’s all that matters.”
Balancing the shining stage lights are intimate backstage moments. Though the possessor of an otherworldly voice, the parts of Houston’s life not covered in the glitz of the stage are shown in measure; this is not limited to the scandals that surrounded her but reaches her everyday humanity. In the trailer, a clip of Houston making a snide remark about Paula Abdul singing off-key captures a casual harshness familiar to all.
Still, the film circles back to relationships, including her marriage to Bobby Brown and close friendship with Robyn Crawford, who is described as Houston’s “safety net.”
In the first teaser trailer released in April Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, says, “You have three places to sing from: heart, mind, guts. She learned them all.”
In the official trailer, this sentiment is condensed to just one word. A clip of Whitney Houston saying, “I’m singing music from my heart,” plays, and then the screen switches to her mother.
“Heart,” Cissy Houston intones.
Whitney Houston’s singing backs much of the trailer, and her voice goes beyond years, beyond the screen to give chills. Watch the trailer below.