Amy: A soul-stirring heartwrenching documentary about Amy Winehouse

Other | Friday 24th July 2015 | Francesco

“I died a hundred times.  You go back to her
  And I go back to. . .black. . .
  black. . . black."

Amy is a new documentary from Asif Kapadia, the director of the successful Senna. Kapadia depicts the story of a girl who loved to sing and ended up self-destructing. She died July, 23rd, 2011. Here's Russell Brand's goodbye to Amy.  

Amy dares to describe the best and the worst parts of Winehouse’s last years. It starts with a video of Amy in her teens and it goes on through pivotal moments, such as the release of Frank and the recording of Back To Black.  Kapadia’s great achievement is to portray Amy not as the drug-addicted damned star, but as a girl struggling with demons and oppressed by fame. He uses lots of archival footage and dozens of interviews to create an incisive portrait.

Kapadia always gives depth to his work and Amy is no different. The film is full of exceptional moments, like when she wins a Grammy or when she meets her idol Tony Bennett and sings with him. Watching her overwhelmed with happiness, and hearing Bennett talk about the quality of her musicianship, adding that she didn’t live long enough to learn how to live, is literally heartbreaking.

What I really appreciated about Amy is also the fearless depictions of the other people in Winehouse’s life. Mitch and Blake are portrayed as two negative figures in Amy’s life, and reading interviews from her friends, that seems accurate. They put their interests before hers until they burned her out. I loved how Kapadia crafted the path of the story through the lyrics of her songs, many of which were autobiographical - the daddy in 'Rehab' is Mitch.

The film is the perfect soul-stirring heart-wrenching chronicle of a talented and witty girl who wanted to be famous, but was not ready to live with it. The ending represents it all. Kapadia concludes his documentary with a series of tender images of Amy in her daily life in her early twenties, with notes on 'Valerie' in the background. A perfect conclusion, reminding us that we are not watching the story a rock star, but of an ordinary troubled woman. She was in love, she was vulnerable, and she wanted to live: her talent and her songs were part of it all. 

Take a look at the trailer for Amy:

Francesco Bacci