Despite just two albums to her name Amy Winehouse is one of the biggest music icons in British history. With a voice oft described as a combination of Billy Holiday, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan, Amy Winehouse was a pop star with soul; a once in two generational musical talent whose appeal crossed cultural and demographic boundaries. But while her music made her a star, her chaotic personal life stole headlines.
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Amy Winehouse was a larger than life pop star who left the music industry too soon. She came to fame during an era when pop music was becoming artificial and shallow breathing new life into stale genre of pop music. She provided much needed talent, soul, and authenticity. I wasn’t a BIG fan of Amy Winehouse but I can appreciate her contribution to the art of music and even own some of her songs (“Rehab,” “Back in Black”). Amy is a gritty yet polished, emotionally engaging behind-the-scenes music documentary that shines the light on the person and not the tabloid persona which became the butt of jokes and obsession with the tabloid press.
Amy is a gritty yet polished, emotionally engaging behind-the-scenes music documentary.
Amy the documentary is as soulful and raw as Amy Winehouse herself. A movie like Amy doesn’t exploit her troubles, but reveals them in greater detail from multiple perspectives. Director Asif Kapadia shows a lot of focus and restraint telling us Amy Winehouse’s life story. Like his acclaimed racing documentary Senna (which I could honestly give or take for a documentary), viewers are immersed with a lot of archival footage. We watch a woman blossom in her talent only to slowly wither away with her addictions. It is quite a stunning revelation for a documentary. It is something to see to believe, but the footage and the end result of her consequences is heartbreaking. You wont judge Amy Winehouse after this movie, but you wont like everyone she surrounded herself with.
This documentary exploded at the Cannes Film Festival in May and has garnered a lot of press attention ever since. It had a big box office in New York, Los Angeles, and Britain A24 is shrewdly releasing this semi-wide. They know they have a hit on their hands and Amy Winehouse had a beloved following. Kapadia’s spellbinding documentary is a living testament to the talent that tragically left the music world too soon.