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Archival footage and personal testimonials present an intimate portrait of the life and career of British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse.

Director:

Asif Kapadia
Won 1 Oscar. Another 50 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amy Winehouse ... Herself (archive footage)
Lauren Gilbert Lauren Gilbert ... Herself
Juliette Ashby Juliette Ashby ... Herself
Nick Shymansky Nick Shymansky ... Himself
Tyler James ... Himself
Guy Moot Guy Moot ... Himself
Chris Taylor Chris Taylor ... Himself (archive footage)
Nick Gatfield Nick Gatfield ... Himself
Ian Barter Ian Barter ... Himself (archive footage)
Garry Mulholland Garry Mulholland ... Himself (archive footage)
Jonathan Ross ... Himself (archive footage)
Janis Collins Janis Collins ... Herself (as Janis Winehouse)
Mitch Winehouse ... Himself (as Mitchell Winehouse)
Sam Beste Sam Beste ... Himself
Bobby Womack ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

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 grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Experience the untold story of the girl behind the name. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 July 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amy See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$222,500, 5 July 2015

Gross USA:

$8,413,144

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,706,049
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Instead of putting Amy's Belgrade concert, filmmakers made mistake and the big zoom out was concert of Jelena Karleusa, Serbian pop/folk singer and not Amy's. See more »

Quotes

Nick Gatfield: She was a very old soul in a very young body.
See more »

Connections

References Cool Hand Luke (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Like Smoke
Written by Salaam Remi (as Gibbs), Amy Winehouse, Nas (as Nasir Jones)
Performed by Amy Winehouse
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Familiar Story with an Incredibly Poignant Twist
30 October 2015 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

Asif Kapadia's documentary tells a familiar tale of the life and death of Amy Winehouse - a precocious talent from North London with a unique vocal and songwriting talent destroyed by a combination of willful manipulation, drugs and drink. The same could also be said for other great jazz singers of the past, notably Billie Holiday (whose voice often seems eerily similar to Winehouse's).

With the help of childhood friends and archive interviews, Kapadia paints a picture of a Jewish girl growing up in an unstable household. Her father Mitch had an affair when Amy was still a baby, and finally left home when she was eight or nine. Her mother Janis admitted that she was really too weak to keep Amy under control: Amy grew up doing virtually what she wanted with little or no authority to restrain her.

By her teenage years it was clear that Amy had a unique talent for singing and writing songs reflecting her various angst. Signed to a contract by Island Records, she gradually rose to stardom, while keeping her feet on the ground; she was always someone most at home with writing and recording music. Video footage from the period shows her enjoying herself with her companions as they traveled to various gigs. At heart she was a girl wanting to enjoy the experience of growing up and adjusting to the world.

Things only really started going wrong once she crossed the Rubicon from well-known jazz artist into international star. Feted on television in both Britain and the United States, it seemed as if the world was her oyster. Yet it was also evident that she was too much influenced by hangers-on wanting a piece of her. Her husband Blake Fielder, a feckless junkie, introduced her to hard drugs; a succession of ineffectual managers including Monte Lipman failed to shield her from the media; and her father came back into her life as someone more interested in making money than protecting his daughter. Kapadia's film suggests that perhaps her father was most at fault for his daughter's decline; in one sequence he brings a camera-crew to St. Lucia, thereby ruining Amy's attempts to enjoy some kind of peace away from the media.

Amy's troubled life is juxtaposed with performances of her greatest songs, whose lyrics are put on screen as she sings them. It's clear that she wrote from bitter experience; the only way she could make sense of it was to write about it. We get the sense that Amy performed first and foremost for herself.

Her untimely death at the age of twenty-seven remains something of a mystery. From the evidence presented in this film, we are left uncertain as to whether she took her own life or whether she died accidentally. Given the prison-like existence she led for the last five years of her life, culminating in the now-notorious occasion when she failed to perform at a Belgrade concert, it's tempting to think that she had had enough.

Few of her close associates come out with any credit as a result of this film. It's almost as if they wanted to exploit her, and when she died, they ascribed the tragedy to fate rather than admitting responsibility for it. This is especially true of Mitch.

The ending is almost unbearably poignant. It seems such a sad waste of a unique talent. Nonetheless at least we have her musical legacy in the form of her recordings, both live and in the studio.


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