Amy (2015)

Amy (2015)
  • Time: 127 min
  • Genre: Documentary | Biography | Music
  • Director: Asif Kapadia
  • Cast: Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, Mark Ronson


The story of Amy Winehouse in her own words, featuring unseen archival footage and unheard tracks.

One comment

  • (Rating: ☆☆☆½ out of 4)

    This film are highly recommended.

    In brief: An engrossing documentary showing a talented performer going to extremes to create and self destruct.

    GRADE: B+

    The tortured artist. A staple in modern fiction. But when fiction becomes a harsh reality, watching a human train-wreck can be an unsettling experience, especially for anyone who comes near their orbit. Such is the case in Amy, directed by Asif Kapidia, depicting the chaotic life of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. The film follows the highs and lows in her personal life and her career. This talented singer / songwriter, with her adrenaline rush to fame and her abusive behavior, destroyed her life in the process, This documentary makes for compelling drama and all the more disturbing due to the honesty and passion of its filmmaker.

    Amy expertly incorporates home videos from her teenage years until her death at age 27, with live performances and interviews with those close to her. It is her musical concert segments that shows off the deep-rooted talent and her special style of phrasing that are particularly effective. Her behind-the-scenes archival footage is shockingly candid in its access to this artist. Her songs are so autobiographical that they chronicle her rise and fall.  Interviews with friends and family show that the loves in her short life, her father Mitch and her lover, Blake Fielder-Civil, did as much (or more) harm to this vulnerable lost human being than she did to herself. The girl never had a chance to survive from her dysfunctional family, her drug-crazed lover and husband, and the intense media spotlight with its swarm of paparazzi parasites always outside her door. Besides her addiction to alcohol and drugs, Amy also suffered from manic depression and bulimia. The film is a harrowing tale, hard to watch at times. But it never shies away from the many tragedies that befell Ms. Winehouse.

    Amy is very well researched and becomes a powerful tribute to a unique talent. Kapidia is a unique talent too. He has a diligent and caring vision to share and places Amy’s live performances center stage (along with some previously unreleased tracks) to emphasize the before-and-after effects of a promising career cut short. He does tend to overdo the use of graphics, filling the screen with song lyrics that become unnecessarily redundant and artsy. But the filmmaker captures this artist’s body and, more importantly, her soul (especially in a rehearsal with Tony Bennett) that is so moving to witness. Her admiration for this musical legend and elder statesman is almost childlike in her expressions and approach to Mr. Bennett and his compassion to her resonates in this telling scene.

    Amy is of the finest documentaries that one will hope to find this year. It is must-see viewing for any serious music aficionado or cinephile.

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