Amy Winehouse was considered by many to be one of the most talented musicians of the 21st century. Her strong jazz vocals mixed with hard hitting, personal lyrics had her topping charts and winning awards the world over. However, throughout all this she battled her demons – drink and drugs. Not that this was kept a secret – her personal life was always splashed on the front page of the dailies for everyone to see. So when her untimely death came about in 2011, it was unsurprising that her story would turn into a film.
Amy follows her life from the birth of stardom until her death, featuring home videos and personal accounts from those around her. In this day and age, it’s unusual to see so much home footage. While it’s arguable that her friends and family wanted to chronicle her rise to stardom, the way the film is edited together almost made it look like the documentary was expected to be made.
As with many documentaries, especially those made posthumously, the stories are presented in a one sided fashion. In the case of Amy, as the film portrays the troubled singer in such a positive light, they have to create villains somewhere, with her father Mitch and her husband Blake stepping into the roles. Whether this is true to real life, or exaggerated caricatures for the sake of the film, this does not mean that Amy is blameless in it all. She is blinded by the love she has for husband Blake which only results in her going back to drugs. However, it does seem as though Amy was stuck in a very difficult place with those she loved only seeming to be looking out for themselves. No wonder Winehouse’s family disowned the film.
From the very beginning, Amy is intensely sad as you wait for it to reach it’s climactic ending. Her music plays a strong part, with the music stripped back to reveal the fiercely autobiographical lyrics which laid her life out for all the world to see.
One thing that Amy shows is just how long her music will stay around. Having recorded her final songs only three months before her death, her voice is still as rich and as raw as it has ever been. While she may no longer be here in body, her soul will live on for generations to come.
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