Director-Asif Kapadia

Starring-Amy Winehouse

Scott’s Review #376


Reviewed February 8, 2016

Grade: B

Amy is an informative documentary that tells the story of immensely talented, yet troubled, pop singer, Amy Winehouse.  Her childhood, rise to fame, and ultimate downfall as a result of drug, alcohol, and weight battles, are all chronicled in her documentary. Despite the information, however, I never got the sense that I knew the singer  well and at the conclusion she still seemed mysterious.

Possessing a unique jazz/soul infused sound and a wonderful British accent to boot, Winehouse burst onto the pop scene like gangbusters in 2003 as a talented artist with many layers of genres in her music. A diamond in the rough you might say, and a breath of fresh air in modern music. The fact that she wrote her own songs only added to the level of talent oozing from her. The documentary wisely tells of her upbringing and her abandoned father, who later resurfaced in her life. Her mother, while decent, could not control Amy, who was full of life and energy.

The main crux of the film, however, is to show her difficulty with fame- a sad, tried and true story of celebrities near and dear, artist types, who do not do well with the attention and adoration thrown their way and Amy Winehouse is no different. As her popularity grew, all she wanted was to be left alone and, unfortunately, her life became very public,including her tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend who wound up in prison.

Sadly, Winehouse did not have the best support system and it was alluded to that, perhaps, her father was an opportunist. A tortured, pure artist that sadly wasted away due to outside circumstances. Throughout most of the film she seemed lost or overwhelmed with the success that came her way. In a cruel irony her biggest hit “Rehab” became fodder for late night television comics to poke fun at her.

The documentary itself, while informative, is also quite basic and I felt like I was given more of an overview of Winehouse’s life than a personal introspective. I did not feel like I received a true sense of her inner thoughts and dreams. Yes, she did not want to be famous and it bothered her, but I wanted to see more of the real Amy Winehouse.

Amy is an adequate documentary about the life and times of Amy Winehouse and I finished the piece knowing more about her, but not nearly as much about her as I wished I had learned. A decent effort, but more would have been nice.

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