Synopsis: This is a documentary about the life of Amy Winehouse, told by the people who knew her the best.
The first scene is the most memorable of many memorable scenes. Amy Winehouse is just a teenager here, goofing and having fun with a few friends. Of course, we get the first glimpse of Amy’s enormous talent as she belts out “Happy Birthday” to one of her friends. Amy seems carefree here, and so happy. Beautiful. A normal teenager. The real Amy. There was no hint of what would later happen to her.
“Amy” is a very informative and ultimately sad look at Amy Winehouse’s life. The first half of the movie focused more on the happier times, when her first album, “Frank” was being promoted, recorded and toured. The whole movie features many interviews–archived footage of Amy, her managers, friends, ex-husband, parents and others. Amy seemed like a good person. She seemed humble, funny, charming and fun to be with. I could see why people were drawn to her. She really seemed like the type of person I’d be friends with. Of course, she was a very talented and versatile singer. And the scenes where we watched her sing and perform in front of audiences were usually a joy to watch. I enjoyed watching the behind-the-scenes footage of her writing and recording her songs. It really felt like you were in the room with her. It was incredible. I liked how honest “Amy” was.
Of course, this made me even madder at a lot of the people in her life. The second half was centered around that dark period in her life, when she became famous after “Back to Black” was released. There were many clear signs that she needed and wanted help. The bulimia, drug/alcohol addiction, telling people she needed a break etc. I just wanted to grab and shake some of these people, yelling “Why didn’t you help her?!”. It was very sad to see. Very depressing. Director Asif Kapadia did an amazing job with the documentary. He made an insightful and amazing piece about Amy’s life and tragic death. It almost felt like you knew her. I’d like to see another film of his if I can.
More than anything else, “Amy” seems to be a cautionary tale about how drugs and fame can be a dangerous mix. The saddest part of all was that Amy didn’t want any of this–fame. All she wanted was to share her music in clubs and live a normal life. “Amy” leaves you pondering many questions long after the end credits roll. I’d give it a 8 out of 10. Rent or buy from Netflix, Google Play, Amazon or other sites.