A documentary on the life of Amy Winehouse, the immensely talented yet doomed songstress. We see her from her teen years, where she already showed her singing abilities, to her finding success and then her downward spiral into alcoholism and drugs.Written by
Amy Winehouse's immediate family were initially willing to work with the film's producers and director, having heard about the success of their earlier documentary, Senna (2010). They granted the filmmakers access to hours of archive footage of Amy and her family, as well as giving the filmmakers' their blessing to interview Amy's family and friends. However, they - in particular, Amy's father, Mitch Winehouse - soon began to feel they were being misrepresented in the documentary, that the negative aspects of Amy's life were receiving much more attention than the positive, and that footage had been edited in order to produce an inaccurate narrative of Amy's story, especially the last three years of her life. Mitch Winehouse has said that Amy's fans should consider seeing the film for the rare, previously unseen, archive footage of his daughter, but should pay no attention to the film's general portrayal of her, which he has labeled "preposterous". Even after the film was nominated for an Academy Award as 'Best Documentary', Mitch Winehouse tweeted on 14 Jan. 2016: "Still hate the film though." See more »
Amy performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2004. At the time the festival was still in The Hague. (And not -yet- in Rotterdam, as the movie states.) She performed at one of the stages in the basement. See more »
For fans of Amy Winehouse, "Amy" is must-see. The story is already known, although the film provides many interesting details perhaps not widely seen in public media. To avoid spoilers, I will stick to vague strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths: > Good video and sound for the music parts - this is not somebody's iPhone video of a public performance > Chronology of story development - the film follows Amy's short life without jumping around in time > The obvious bias is that of a fan. Janis Joplin's biographers have not been nearly as kind. The performance sections in "Amy" are carefully chosen > No secret here: the pop music business and the pop media business have no humanity. They showed no mercy toward a fragile young woman who struck gold. This point was made clearly. The only improvement I can think of would be to get Keith Richards to comment on how the world loves to see its pop idols hounded - by police, by media, by fans, and by promoters
Weaknesses > Not enough music parts - the profound talent is displayed, but should have been put forth more often and for longer periods > The sensational drug and alcohol abuse drama overwhelms the film as it did the artist herself. That may have been the point, but if so, it was made heavy-handedly > Given the first two weaknesses, this film is just too long. I kept wishing they would get back to the concert and recording-session footage
The film is still a must-see for Amy Winehouse fans. Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Amy Winehouse's jazz record with Tony Bennett.
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