AMY Film Review (2015)

Directed by Asif Kapadia
Produced by Paul Bell, James Gay-Rees and George Pank
Starring Amy Winehouse, Yasiin Bey, Mark Ronson, Pete Doherty, Mitch Winehouse, Tony Bennett, Tyler James, Salaam Remi, Monte Lipman, Janis Winehouse, Blake Wood, Juliette Ashby, Nick Shymansky, Lauren Gilbert.
Synopsis: The story of the life and career of Amy Winehouse, told in her own words through recorded interviews, finally bringing her personal life to the foreground; and a deeply ingrained reminder of just how massively talented but extremely troubled she was…
“I don’t think I’m gonna be at all famous, I don’t think I could handle it. I would probably go mad, know what I mean? I would go mad!” – Amy Winehouse in 2003.

These were the words of a young, open minded London girl who simply adored music, her passion for it seamlessly coming through her extraordinarily powerful vocals, but with no desire to become a famous household name and reach mega celebrity status; irony then, comes into huge play when, at the age of 19, she finds herself being catapulted from ordinary person to A-List star in the music industry, much against her very own will it seems. 

Director Asif Kapadia (Senna) has constructed and put together an honest and honourable documentary of one of the greatest youngest female vocal singers to come out of Britain, who’s life was unfortunately tragically cut short, failing to win the battle against the personal inner demons that were just way too great and overpowering for even her to control. 
Met with much wide acclaim and extremely well received, warm reception; Kapadia clearly did his research into AMY by clearly focusing on her most important and relevant parts of both her personal life and the rapidly growing success of her career, while simultaneously fully investing in a real emotional, heart breaking human side to the story he wants to tell. 
The main purpose of making this documentary and bringing it to the public’s eye, was by providing viewers with a deeper understanding and acknowledgement of what really drove Amy to alcohol and drug abuse, which, ultimately became her untimely downfall before she even knew it. Having the documentary shot through mainly camera footage, picture stills and news coverage, was an interesting move; chronicling her journey from 2001 all the way to her death in July 2011, aided by only voice-overs from family, friends, ex managers, promoters and producers. She was someone who was truly controversial when speaking out her mind in public, being someone who would only write songs that she believed in writing about, ones that came straight from her heart and soul, and usually drawn from past experiences. When conducting either radio or TV interviews, she would tell someone if she didn’t like them or make it well known whenever she lost interest in whatever the interviewer may be asking her.

The saddest part of her story was no matter how many times she reiterated the point of not wanting to be a star or a big celebrity in the public’s eye, it seems as though the industry had continuously ignored this, instead not giving up on pushing her and giving a slight nudge to point her in the direction of total super stardom, possessing the full knowledge of her incredible talent, one to be seriously reckoned with. Even her father kept pressurising her by ensuring she gets the gigs and the touring dates, putting her fame before her health first. As she began to drink heavily either day or night, that’s when her life, from both a personal and professional angle, started to break away at the seams; pushing away her closest friends that she held near and dear to her. The alcohol addiction which soon led to far worse addictions with heroin and crack cocaine, could have quite easily been avoided if she had the proper help and guidance early on. At her father’s request, he persuaded her not to go to rehabilitation due to her excessive drinking, which, of course, coincidentally inspired her to release one of her record breaking singles of all time – ‘Rehab’.
I think, with the right help, guidance and counselling in her life, she may very well have still been alive today and become an even bigger phenomenal success, rather than sadly having her life come to an end too soon while she only started coming into her prime.

As the end credits rolled in, I was left sat in my seat staring at the screen, completely speechless. I love watching documentaries as much as the next self confessed film lover, but never have I been more excited and interested to see a documentary biopic as I have with this one. The fact that its only been four years since she passed away has still deeply affected the hearts of millions of fans, still making it hard to get over considering the amazing contributions as an artist she made to today’s music industry. Heart breaking and totally devastating, this is an important documentary that will show Amy Winehouse in a truly honest and upfront way, there’s no denying the incredible inspiration she made with her own unique take in jazz music. By the time it finishes, if you don’t feel any feelings of sorrow that would most definitely draw a close tear to your eye, then you most definitely are not human.


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