No Concessions: “Bobbi Kristina” deserved better in life & death (Movie review)

TV One continued their streak of new programming with the premiere of Bobbi Kristina, a film highlighting the short life of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s daughter. After Lifetime’s Whitney and Showtime’s Can I Be Me, this is the third production in recent years centered around Houston’s life. Her death in 2012 shocked the world, leaving more questions than answers. I believe no one suffered more from the loss than Houston’s only child.

Bobbi Kristina Brown was the light of her parents’ lives, but too many factors robbed her of a normal childhood. Between her parents’ toxic relationship, and the pressures of being a Houston, Bobbi Kristina struggled to forge her own path. Her quest to be heard in a room full of people led her to a life of loss and sadness, which ended all too soon.

The movie attempts to shine light on Brown’s story, but sadly there isn’t much to tell. For two-hours viewers watch Bobbi (Joy Rovaris) tearfully adjust to life without her mother. The story pivots between the present and flashbacks, including the day Houston died. Demetria McKinney, who played the late singer, surprisingly captured Houston’s essence. These scenes highlighted her and Bobbi’s close-knit relationship, while also foreshadowing the unfortunate drug abuse Bobbi would soon become accustomed too.

While the performances were solid and done tastefully, the biggest failure of the film is the narrative itself. Bobbi Kristina was a young woman in need of desperate help. But, much like her mother, it seemed her cries were not fully acknowledged. Her downward spiral into depression, substance abuse and suicide attempts is painful to watch. And the people around her failed to recognize the pain she encountered daily. This makes for a melancholy film void of any real bright moments. If anything it makes you riddled with grief and anger that this young life deserved better.

The cast also included Vivica A. Fox as Pat Houston; Nadji Jeter as infamous boyfriend Nick Gordon; and, Hassan Johnson (The Wire) as Bobby Brown.

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