In 2011, we lost one lost a treasure. Amy Winehouse quickly shot to worldwide fame in 2007, rising in profile from a club-touring London Teen with a bevvy of acclaim surrounding her, to unavoidable tabloid fodder and a multitude of Awards. Director Asif Kapadia gives us unparalleled access to the troubled life, mind and soul of a true musical great gone too soon in his Documentary titled simply, Amy.
The two-hour piece gives us a thorough look at Winehouse‘s life, examining a childhood in which her father Mitch rarely was around, being raised mostly by her mother Janis, who admits to not having been strong enough to contain Amy from a very young age. We witness her jawdropping record label audition to her intense, passionate love affair with Blake Fielder. We witness heartbreak in their tumultuous love affair which sees him leaving her, combined with pressure from her growingly-impatient record label, pushing her to record sophomore disc Back to Black, regarded widely as a modern day classic.
Winehouse‘s battle with Alcoholism, Bulimia and escalating drug use are detailed with precision (and photos even), while we are placed in the thick of the daily frenzy of paparazzi awaited outside her modest Camden home. Her reconciliation with her father Mitch and their strained relationship are shown until her final days, which sees her in St. Lucia overcoming her drug addiction, only to be replaced instead by her Alcoholism. We witness the highest of highs including being at her most blissfully in-love and deserving Grammy wins, to her lowest of lows. Love in many ways was a losing game as Winehouse‘s self-penned tune suggests, but out of love, the World was gifted with her timeless music. She gave everything to live authentically.
Kapadia through some candid captures and public footage, brings Winehouse back to life for us. We feel her larger-than-life presence on-screen post-humously and she very much is present and alive here. Through skilful storytelling combining first-hand accounts of those closest to her and also her Music, we get deep into her mindspace, with a fresh perspective on the circumstances behind the Music we fell so much in love with and the young Woman whom we couldn’t keep our eyes off of.
In the face of turmoil, Winehouse was an Artist of uncompromising integrity til the day she died. Through Amy, we have an intimate way of remembering her forever – a dignified tribute to an Icon.
Mongrel Media release AMY on Friday, July 10, 2015 and it will screen Saturday, June 20, 2015 at NXNE.