A scene from Whitney.

Whitney is a bummer of a documentary to watch, as well it should be. Thanks to the participation of Whitney Houston’s family members, including her former husband Bobby Brown, this stands as the definitive look at her career and her downfall. It’s a devastating film.

The movie starts with the vibrant Houston singing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and gives a special nod to her first national TV appearance on the The Merv Griffin Show. Her mother, Cissy Houston, and brothers (among other family and friends) sit down for interviews, and the subject seems happy for a good chunk of the film. Then Bobby Brown—it’s shocking that he sat down for an interview—entered her life, bringing turmoil, including increased drug usage and his infidelity. It was all downhill from there.

It all works up to the ending we know is coming, but it’s still shocking to see this joyful person fall apart under the spotlight. Houston didn’t even make it to 50, paying the ultimate price for stardom, as Michael Jackson did just three years before—at a similar age.

The film is put together well; it’s just one of those films you wish didn’t need to exist.

Whitney is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com; it will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 16.