Put aside everything you think you know about Amy Winehouse, because in this acclaimed documentary, you’re about to meet the real girl behind that legendary voice. This movie is the difference between a tabloid and real life.
Amy is easily one of the best movies of the year. If you watch this and aren’t moved by the story or the voice, please consult your doctor immediately for the image-making glitz of fame is peeled away and probably for the first time, you’re going to see Amy Winehouse as a human being.
The beauty in this film-making is that the creators used home movies of Amy, her friends and family, to tell the story. You don’t see fill-in spots or re-enactments but rather two hours of Amy as she was, the good, the bad, the troubled soul that belted out scorching emotion every time she touched a microphone.
What I learned about her that surprised me the most is what a fantastic jazz singer she was. Tony Bennett wasn’t stretching the truth when he said she ranked up there with the all-time greats like Ella Fitzgerald, she was the real deal. Actually, she reminded me a bit of Nina Simone but that may be me.
It is clear from the movie that Amy was happiest as a jazz singer, in those moments she was truly herself, but after the fame with Back To Black she was forced into the circus of celebrity. When she was in front of small clubs doing jazz, she was her happiest. When she was in front of 20,000 people, she was miserable. Bennett said it well when he explained that jazz singers aren’t meant to perform in stadiums, the genre doesn’t lend itself well to that. The personality of jazz is different and that personality clash is what ate Amy alive.
You also see how she was surrounded by … the word ‘scum’ comes to mind. I may sound harsh but by the end of this movie, I loathed her husband, the man responsible for her drug induced lapses. At the end of this movie there is a clip from an interview he gave, a self-serving piece of b.s. that sealed his fate in history.
Her father, the man who left her when she was a child, created most of Amy’s emotional instability. He latched on to her fame for every last penny and pound he could squeeze into his pocket. It was gut wrenching to watch for the viewer knows the end result.
Redemption is found in her small circle of childhood friends, her first manager, and the guy who was her bodyguard right up to the end. Amy managed to repair those personal bridges which had been damaged during her druggie stage, which I think gave closure to those who truly loved her after she passed away.
Many people think she died of a drug overdose but she was clean at the very end. Her heart gave out – the price paid from a combination of the hard drinking, drugs and bulimia which she suffered from all her life.
I was moved by her performances and her struggles. Before putting this DVD in, I really only knew her hit songs. After this though, I’ve had those jazz renditions in my head. If she had survived a few more decades, I suspect she would’ve torched all our souls with that voice. On a scale of 5, I give this documentary a 10.