Months before Whitney Houston's tragic death, the actress-singer was nursing an on-screen comeback years in the making.

In "Sparkle," Houston portrays the matriarch of three girls who form a popular Motown ground in the 1960s. The movie featured the actress' first big-screen role since 1996's "The Preacher's Wife."

In the June issue of Vanity Fair, "Sparkle" director Salim Akil discusses Houston's final movie performance.

"Nobody is going to be able to say anything more profound than what Whitney says herself on that screen," Akill told the magazine. "There's a line in the movie where she says, 'Hasn't my life been enough of a cautionary tale?' All the questions that you ask people as you do this story, I feel she answers in this movie.... The answer is: 'All the good things, all the beautiful things, that you ever thought about me are true.' Her performance is consistent with the gifts that she gave us consistently. Isn't that enough?"

"Sparkle," which stars Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick and Cee-Lo Green, hits theaters August 17.

For more on Whitney Houston's final days, head over to Vanity Fair.
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