I Wanna Dance with Somebody

I Wanna Dance with Somebody

The joyous, emotional, heartbreaking celebration of the life and music of Whitney Houston, the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time. Tracking her journey from obscurity to musical superstardom.

  • Released: 2022-12-21
  • Runtime: 146 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, History, Music
  • Stars: Naomi Ackie, Ashton Sanders, Stanley Tucci, Nafessa Williams, Lance A. Williams, Tamara Tunie, Clarke Peters, Daniel Washington, JaQuan Malik Jones, Kris Sidberry, Bailee Lopes, Bria Danielle Singleton, Adrian M. Mompoint, Coffey, Stew Replogle, Chanel Rose Connor, Sean Amos, Jon F. Merz
  • Director: Kasi Lemmons
  • groundzero-273-397110 - 10 December 2023
    I watched this movie to learn more about Whitney, and to sympathize. None of that happened.
    I was hoping for more with this movie. I have seen other similar biopics that focus on the lives of different artists, like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. This film failed to affect me on a deeper level, where other biopics have succeeded, such as the aforementioned films.

    The film lacks detail and depth. The film is too long considering how few details were given about Whitney's life. I like watching biopics to learn more about said person's life, both the good and the bad. I want to see all the chaos that went on in the artist's life, the relationships, the drama, the drugs, etc. In this movie, I hardly learned anything new about Whitney Houston. It's mostly recreations of her performances as an artist and not much about her background. Her performances can be seen elsewhere and that is not the main reason why I watched this movie. But of course there should be some performances in the movie as well, and how it came about that she made the songs the way she did, just not too much of it. I watched this movie to learn more about Whitney, and to sympathize. None of that happened. The scenes where they show some of her background are too shoort and too sanitised. Then they move on to the next performance instead. I was very disappointed. I will give the movie 6/10, because of good music and good acting, but that's it.
  • katkapsz - 30 August 2023
    There must be another way...
    With all the respect for the human being, who had her hardships in life... there must be another way how to tell this kind of biopic. I watched the movie about Tina Turner almost back to back with this one and let me tell you, it is like watching the same movie.

    This undermines not only the person in the center of the movie, our heroine, but the viewer as well.

    So here is the story... take a girl, with a golden voice. Sings in church, is better than anyone else, but the oldschool older woman tells her to stay in line. But all she wants is to sing. One night miraculously she sings in front of a crowd, she is shy but sings like a goddes, a producer hears her. Contract. Lights. Fame. Albums. Fans. Needs love. Finds husband. Trouble. More fame. Money. Sad family life. Moneytrouble. Sandes. But Hope. She finds empowerment. In herself. And a grand singing finale in a beautiful dress, thousands of people. Hopeful song. Epilogue with real pictures of the reallife lady, wrap up text over emotional music. Credits. Soundtrack by artist, that had no personal involvment in the movie.

    I love Whitney, she was an amazing artist, a voice of her generation.

    There needs to be another way how to tell this kind of story, in a unique way. Look at the Elvis biopic. That's what these legends deserve.
  • nogodnomasters - 12 January 2023
    The Voice
    The film opens with a quick 1994 American Music Awards teaser and quickly goes to New Jersey 1983. Whitney (Naomi Ackie) is being voice trained by her famous mother Cissy (Tamara Tunie) who instructs her to sing from the head, heart, and gut. Every song tells a story which is what the film does, using Whitney's songs juxtaposition with her life. It does not shy away from the negative things in her life. Her father (Clarke Peters) is easily added to the list of bad father managers. Whitney's love for Robyn (Nafessa Williams) is strongly hinted at and her relationship with Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders) clearly shows they were a bad match. It portrayed him at worst as an enabler and stated Whitney had drug issues before Bobby Brown and implied her death was accidental.

    The film concentrated on the music. It didn't skimp on any songs and clearly they had marketing of the sound track in mind as all the songs were done completely. No quick riffs. Worth watching for the music alone. It is two hours you will never get back and won't want to.

    Guide: F-word. No sex or nudity.
  • jboothmillard - 10 January 2023
    I Wanna Dance with Somebody
    When I saw the trailer for a biopic about one of the greatest voices in pop music, I was naturally excited, and being from the screenwriter of Bohemian Rhapsody made it more appealing as well, produced by Whitney's manager Clive Davis, directed by Candyman actress Kasi Lemmons. Basically, in New Jersey 1983, Whitney Houston (Naomi Ackie, also producing) sings as part of a church choir, led by her mother Cissy (Tamara Tunie), a professional singer. Cissy can be hard on Whitney at times but wants better things for her. Whitney forms a friendship with Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams), which turns romantic and the two go on to move in together, much to her religious mother's dismay. Cissy is due to perform one evening, but she sees record producer Clive Davis (Stanley Tucci) in the audience. She fakes being ill and encourages Whitney to take her place, and she performs "The Greatest Love of All". Davis is impressed and has Whitney sign a record deal with Arista and she gets her first major performance singing "Home" on The Merv Griffin Show. Whitney's career takes off and she starts her own label, Nippy Inc. Whitney wants Robyn to become her assistant, but her overbearing and strict father and her self-appointed manager John (Clarke Peters) objects. He takes exception to their personal relationship and tells them to go on dates with men, which Robyn refuses to do. Whitney records "If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful" with Jermaine Jackson (Jaison Hunter), whom she ends up sleeping with. Robyn is upset and jealous, their romantic relationship crumbles, but they remain close friends. Whitney becomes a worldwide superstar, appealing to all demographics, following the release of singles like "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)". However, she faces criticism for selling out and not sounding "black enough". At the 1988 Soul Train Music Awards, Whitney is booed when Anita Baker (Lynn Leger) announces her as one of the nominees for Best Music Video. She loses to Janet Jackson but is comforted by R&B singer Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders) and the two began dating. Bobby eventually proposes to her but is upset when he tells her that he has gotten a former girlfriend pregnant. Whitney is enraged and storms out of their limousine onto a busy road, but they reconcile. In 1991, Whitney performs the National Anthem at 25th Super Bowl, earning an incredible reception. Clive suggests Whitney should consider acting in a movie and postpones her own wedding with Bobby to star in The Bodyguard alongside Kevin Costner. During filming, she suffers a miscarriage, but returns to the project and records a cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" for the movie's soundtrack (1992 Christmas Number One in the UK). She later marries Bobby and the following year they have a baby daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. In 1994, Whitney performs at a concert for Nelson Mandela's release from prison and goes on tour. Exhausted from performing, Whitney demands to return home to be with her family. But at home, Whitney and Bobby are fighting, with one argument becoming almost physical, which results in her throwing him out of the house and developing a drug addiction. In 1998, Whitney she has released seven major songs and starred in three motion pictures but has not released a new album in eight years. Unhappy with Bobby, she decides to record "Why Does It Hurt So Bad", despite rejecting it several times in the past due to not connecting with the song's message. Whitney confronts her father John about access to her money and spending too much of it on expensive gifts, and she learns that he is negotiating a new deal with Arista Records. Whitney suffers insomnia and goes to see Clive at his hotel to discuss new music and playing "It's Not Right But It's Okay", she goes on to release a new album and goes on tour. The tour is exhausting, and Whitney's mental and physical health begins to decline. Her drug addiction causes problems for her voice, and her turbulent relationship with Bobby is in the news everywhere. During a visit with Clive, he urges her to go into rehabilitation, but she refuses. Near the end of the tour, Robyn fights with Bobby and attempts to get Whitney to return home. While Whitney chooses to continue the tour, Robyn leaves Nippy Inc., but not before telling her that her father is in the hospital. Whitney visits her father in the hospital which turns sour when the topic of money comes up, and she tells him her sister-in-law Pat (Kris Sidberry) will replace him as manager and ultimately cuts ties with him. When John dies Whitney does not attend his funeral. Cissy finds Whitney riddled with drugs and calls for the police to take her to rehab. She eventually becomes clean, reconnects with her daughter, and divorces Bobby. In 2009, she attempts a comeback with a new album and performs "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is met with a standing ovation. After the show, Clive visits her and she tells him that she is interested in touring again, but he advises her to rest. But Whitney ignores him and tours Europe, but it is disastrous, with fans walking out her of her shows and demanding refunds, due to her failing voice and stage performance. In February 2012, Whitney is in Los Angeles to perform at a pre-Grammy ceremony. Her bassist Rickey Minor (Dave Heard) advises her to call off the performance and rest, but she declines and is optimistic. At the Beverly Hilton hotel, she and Bobbi Kristina are preparing for the ceremony the following day, when she goes to the lobby to meet with her drug dealer. She goes to the bar and meets a bartender and long-time fan, and the two remininesce about her 1994 American Music Awards performance. Later, alone in her bathroom, Whitney cries and starts a bath, quietly singing to herself. She sits and prepares her drugs and looks back on the highlights of her life and career. It ends with Whitney performing in 1994 at the American Music Awards, singing a medley of "I Loves You, Porgy", "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "I Have Nothing", which is met with a standing ovation. Also starring Daniel Washington as Gary Houston, Bailee Lopes as Bobbi Kristina (8-11 years old), Bria Danielle Singleton as Bobbi Kristina (16-19 years old), JaQuan Malik Jones as Michael Houston, and Paul Held as Merv Griffin. British actress Ackie looks spot on as the famous singer in the various stages of her life and career, Sanders does well as her loving but sometimes aggressive husband, and Tucci is well cast as her manager who tries not to interfere unless necessary. The recreations of Whitney's most famous moments, especially the music videos, are impressive, as are the makeup and costumes, and obviously if you are a fan of the songs, you enjoy singing along. The problem, being a 12 certificate, is that they only skim over the problems Whitney had with domestic abuse with Bobby Brown, her use of crack cocaine, and her tragic death from drowning whilst using drugs. Long term fans might find out things they never knew before, e.g. Whitney's lesbian relationship, her father's control over her fortune, it is certainly an interesting and entertaining enough celebration of the talents of one of the greatest and successful vocalists of all time, an alright biographical musical drama. Worth watching!
  • CarolineFR69 - 5 January 2023
    Good actors, THE VOICE, scenario to redo
    This is the biopic on Whitney Elizabeth Houston (that's how she introduces herself), done by the same screenwriter who did Bohemian Rhapsody. It starts with Whitney Houston singing in a Church, accompanied by her mother Cissy Houston, right before she is discovered by Clive Davis, her producer, until her death. Naomi Ackie's transformation is quite impressive, with some moments where you could easily confuse her with the real Whitney Houston. If you know a bit of Whitney Houston's life, you know that you are not going to see an uplifting movie, that the traumas, the drugs, and the bad relationships will make you cry even more. But the actors are very good, from Naomi Ackies, to Stanley Tucci, or Tamara Tunie. And if you never had a change to hear Whitney Houston sing live, hearing her voice belt on her biggest successes is sure to give you a few goose bumps.
  • claas-1 - 3 January 2023
    An okay TV movie at best
    I wanted to like it but it didnt feel it at all. This is simply a nice homage film, which is okay, but if you are looking for a compelling movie, you are in the wrong place here.

    Most characters are very one-dimensional, the whole film lacks depth but basically gives you a sugar coated 'best of' : Rob is the friend who cares, Daddy is greedy manager, Bobby is an add (but surprisingly nicer than you think) and Clive is the caring manager every singer would love to have. No wonder, the latter is one of the films producers, so is Pat Houston.

    It's a family friendly feelgood film to educate you on who she was - nothing more.
  • jusshawn - 31 December 2022
    Love Whitney !!
    If you love Whitney .I mean love Whitney this movie was amazing !! It's not full tabloid gossip it give a small window to peak into .I grow up on Whitney her music and movies likeness was all over my home as a child .This movie was great and LOVE the ending!! This is great watch. The lead actress did an amazing job I was happy of the depiction of Bobby Brown I was glade we did t see a lot of him because this was truly about Whitney. Wish they hit a few of the preacher wife songs but the songs chosen were fantastic and beautifully placed .OMG she nailed those live performances !! Great job !!!!!!
  • jdesando - 30 December 2022
    You will fall in love with her again.
    "I will always love you."

    No matter that the bio of Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody is riddled with pop-singer-tragic-bout with drugs, leading to her death because she remains the highest grossing singer of all time, not bad when you consider she keeps the fame fellowship with Barbra, Aretha, and Judy.

    From Gospel to R & B, the Jersey-girl Whitney gradually becomes known as "The Voice." Therein lies a potential rub in the picture as the glamorous Naomi Ackie, an acceptable singer but apparently qualified to lip-synch only to Houston's transcendent voice. Knowing this before I entered the theater, I was won over within minutes: Ackie's lip-synching is flawless, the best I have ever seen. Houston's cool modulation and momentous key changes are here in reality.

    I fretted not, for I accepted Ackie as Whitney, looks and voice, in a stunning interpretation of the pop princess turned queen. In a veritable flash of a moment after being discovered at Sweetwater's, she is shepherded by the estimable Arista Records president Clive Davis (Stanley Tucci in his most urbane role ever) through her career, respectful as he was about what she liked to sing, and uncanny in offering her songs that catapulted her to fame.

    When Davis introduces her on The Merv Griffin Show, she stops hearts with "Home" from The Wiz and allows director Kasi Lemmons to set up the operative heart-breaking motif of her longing for a home life that Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders-remember him from Moonlight?) will never give her.

    Whitney's character arc is well known from "America's Sweetheart" (an appellation she hated) to drug-addled has-been, not unlike Winehouse and Spears. (Her unconventional love with Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams) brought her misery as well). Because so many singers, male and female, fell under the sway of narcotics, it's possible this biopic has been undersubscribed because of the almost cliched story line.

    In addition, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody downplays the abusive role Bobby Brown, probably because of his attorneys threatening lawsuits. Although I am uncomfortable with graphic violence on the screen, some of it would have given an authentic edge to her troubled story. As would have scenes depicting her actual encounter with drugs.

    This Whitney biopic may soften the effects of her addictions, but it never fails in featuring and interpreting the music that brought wealth and fame. Kudos to Naomi. Not so to the drug overdose that led to her drowning.

    Take heart, this story lingers frequently on full songs in her real voice. It can't get better than that.
  • trevor_alex - 28 December 2022
    Ok at best !
    Firstly, I have to say the movie was OK at best - some amazing individual performances but lacked creativity for a Biopic.

    The biggest plus from this movie was the music and it was truly a great reminder how special Whitney's talent was and how influential her voice was to the hip pop and the R&B industry. As for the lead actor Naomi Ackie, I felt she did a fine job in portraying Whitney and so as the the rest of the cast in their respective roles.

    Despite some fine performances, I felt the content and the plot was very underwhelming and felt like this movie was rushed and didn't allow to really developed.

    Overall, it was an ok movie but is it Oscar worthy ? I don't think so !
  • l0zza-22 - 27 December 2022
    Worth watching and brilliant for Whitney fans
    I am a big Whitney fan so thoroughly enjoyed the film and hearing so many of her songs. My husband who's not as much of a fan also enjoyed it and said he'd forgotten how many great songs she had so I'm glad he came along.

    Naomi was great in the role and I enjoyed seeing the relationships Whitney had.

    I felt a lot of the downfall was missed out but I also think there's only so much you can put into a film, there's already a lot of documentaries out there so this was a good all rounder.

    I think the ending was done well.

    She truly was a brilliant singer and it brought a tear to my eye a few times.