“Laugh, cry, judge me. Just pay attention. This is why they call it showbiz”
-Wendy Williams, 2021
Wendy Williams. We hear the name, we all have a different reaction. Some love her, some hate her. But not everyone knows the story. As an avid watcher of her daytime talk show, Wendy loves a scandal. So when lifetime came calling to make a movie about her real life scandal, of course she jumped on it.
“Wendy Williams: The Movie” tells the story of Wendy from her family beginnings in New Jersey, to radio stardom, so tv dominance. All while dealing with personal struggles and behind the scenes drama. Accompanying the film was the documentary “Wendy Williams: What a Mess”. It chronicles the ups and downs of Wendy’s career and personal life. As told by Wendy herself.
I remember listening to Wendy on the radio the day she announced her talk show. This was 2008. At that point I listened to her every day and watched her tv specials on VH1. This was big. The no filtered radio personality from New Jersey was going to daytime tv. She was (and still is) brash. She took no prisoners. She asked the questions we were dying to know. I’ve always consider her (as Wendy would put it) “a friend in my head”
But with all the success came a dark side. The sad part of Wendy’s story was a part of it was in the public eye. Being that she has a daily television show. There is nowhere to run.
We can say what we want about her. In recent years many have stated that Wendy is “getting what she deserves”. I personally wouldn’t wish what she has been though on my worst enemy. It’s horrible and should at least be respected for coming back. If you're that butt hurt about Wendy, stop watching. I find it so interesting about people who bash her but still watch her show everyday.
WARNING: Be advised the film contains a scene of sexual assault. It also includes many scenes involving drug use.
So what did I like about the movie?
Ciera Payton as Wendy Williams. She captures Wendy’s spirit, fun nature and essence very well. She also conveys her strength, taking no prisoners nature and vulnerability. You can feel her pain in the emotional scenes. Her mannerisms on point. Her accent is a little much sometimes but that’s minor. You can tell she really studied and was well prepared. Overall a great performance.
It’s raw! And brash! Talking about your past demons isn’t easy. Putting the movie on lifetime, you would expect a more cheesy/ predictable approach. But it doesn’t. It goes there. Scenes of drug use, sexual assault and a toxic relationship just to name a few. Some are a little unexpected upon first viewing. Especially if you're so used to seeing Wendy a certain way. You sometimes feel that Wendy wrote the movie herself. I applaud lifetime for going there.
It’s taking its time with the story. That’s pretty self explanatory. It’s nice we get to spend time with Wendy during her radio days. As well as her personal struggles.
She is the hot topic. They told you what was going on outside the studio. Wendy’s reason was she wanted to do it before someone else did. That is bold! Any questions you’ve had about her or the show. Especially in the past 2 years. Everything you wanted to know about her past relationship or her marriage is there.
The documentary! It discusses Wendy’s career and struggles from the queen herself. Just like the film; it’s raw, brash and truthful. I highly recommend seeing both together to get the full story.
As a change for this review, this is not a dislike section. But more of “what I would have liked to see”.
More young Wendy. She had a lot of triggering moments as a child. And it’s only for a few scenes. There’s mentions of Wendy as a teenager, as well as the start of her college and radio career. It would have been nice to see it as it affected her self esteem.
More scenes at the talk show. The Wendy Williams Show is how most of America came to know her. True fans would have liked to see more of her infamous dressing room, Her glam squad, and the crew. Not just dramatic moments, but fun ones as well.
More scenes during recovery. In the accompanying documentary, Wendy explains what she went through each day when she attended a sober house. From her office changing to her daily routine. While we only get a glimpse in the movie. Wendy’s description sounded much worse.
The origin of “How u doin?” Where did it start? Why did she start saying it? Don’t act like you didn’t want to know.
So what is my opinion of the film about the queen of all media. I enjoyed it. It’s giving you everything you wanted to know. It was entertaining, it was provocative and it was sad. But there could have been a little bit more. I admire her resilience. Her confidence. And her ability to keep going. It’s not easy. Especially when you are known for dishing other people’s dirt. If you're a fan of Wendy. Interested in a real life hot topic. Or just love a good lifetime movie. Check it out.
How you doin?!
“Wendy Williams: The Movie” is available for streaming on Lifetimetv.com