An extraordinary film, one of the most powerful I've seen in years (by rick_7)
A haunting, heartbreaking and stunningly brilliant film from Senna director Asif Kapadia, which takes us into the confidence of Amy Winehouse, as the bolshy, big-voiced, jazzy Jewish girl from North London becomes a megastar, while her personal demons, her relationship with a drug addict, and a ravenous, amoral press proceed to rip her to shreds.Thanks to an abundance of revelatory home video footage, soundtracked by incisive interviews, we see her not only as the beehived, cat- eyed chanteuse or the alarmingly ribbed tabloid quarry, tumbling out of a club at 3am, but as a shy, spotty teen <more>
with a seductive offhand confidence in her vocal gift.I'm not an enormous fan of Winehouse's music, I think because her deeply personal writing and distinctive, expressive voice tended to be masked by such contrived, Americanised pastiche – trading first on '30s jazz and then '60s girl groups – but the portrait that emerges here is uncompromising, thrilling and frequently devastating: of an unhappy girl equipped with a massive talent, but none of the stability or serenity to deal with the perpetual media storm that her success brought upon her.We see stand-ups and TV presenters laughing at her bulimia and drug abuse, her management pushing her out of rehab and onto foreign stages, and – in the second half – a rapacious, vulturous paparazzi incessantly stalking her, an essential decency chillingly absent. If that was my job, I think I would struggle to watch this film and think: "Yes, what I am doing with my life is essentially fine."By contrast, Kapadia's film is quite beautifully lacking in sensationalism. Though it essentially doubles an indictment of a society almost entirely lacking in basic compassion and empathy, it's a work that possesses both virtues in apparently limitless amounts, surely compressing and simplifying an impossibly complex narrative, but attaining something that seems awfully like the truth – and apparently is, according to her closest friends.Amy is a tough watch, but it feels essential, not just for its vivid picture of a fascinating, deeply troubled young woman, but also for its wider significance: as a plea for people to stop being so horribly selfish, to stop seeing excess and illness as 'rock and roll' and drug abuse as a joke, and for the media to realise that if it wants to paint itself as a crusading Fifth Estate, then some basic humanity wouldn't go amiss.
This documentary is presented in an unusual way: using only footage of Amy's home videos, photos, interviews, live performances and voice-overs only for interviews from Amy and the people who knew her best. It certainly makes a nice change from the numerous camera interviews, mixed with footage of the documentary's subject. It's intimate, raw, sympathetic and heartbreaking. With so much footage of her, in the end, you feel like you really knew her. And it's absolutely gut-wrenching when she dies. Amy's father Mitch was very critical of the movie, saying it put him in a bad <more>
light. But in truth, he already did that himself. Although the film shows him as a loving father that wants what's best for Amy, it does show him as someone who could have done more for her. Other times, he takes a misstep in trying to get his daughter off drugs, such as insisting she doesn't go to rehab the first time, then the second time allowing both her and her drug addicted husband Blake I curse the day she ever met him to go clean in the same clinic, which results in them going on a horrific binge later. And another, such as bringing in a horde of cameras on holiday, when the entire purpose was for Amy to get away from all of the cameras and publicity. Like Kurt Cobain, she was a fragile human being who couldn't handle the fame. If one doesn't have it in their blood to withstand the pressure, they won't survive. Tragically, neither Kurt nor Amy could handle it.This brilliant bio-doc paints an entirely different picture of Amy Winehouse, other than the nasty tabloids story that hampered her over the years. The tense moments when the paparazzi assaults Amy whenever she goes out got me really annoyed. This picture is one of a loving, talented, rebellious, music loving young Jewish girl - caught up in the dangerous parts of the music industry and ultimately crippled by addiction. 10 out of 10
This is one of the best documentaries that I have seen because its not meant to be flashy and "entertaining". It is a very honest and emotional movie with personal clips that show her rise to fame and her feelings about it. One of the biggest reasons why I loved it was because all the different sides of her life were presented in the movie. I loved how all the opposing sides agreed to come together and make this amazing movie. Her parents, managers, ex husband were all included, even though they probably hate one another in real life. I also liked how they included full songs in the <more>
documentary. I was a big fan of Amy Winehouse before but this movie made me appreciate her personality and clever poetry. Highly recommended. trust.
It's sad, depressing, interesting and very insightful (by GavinHeisenberg)
"Amy" The Amy Winehouse Documentary is brilliant. It's sad, depressing, interesting and very insightful. You feel like a fly on the wall as you watch raw video footage throughout that shows you that there were various factors that lead to her Drug addiction and untimely death. It shows you that she wasn't just a dumb junkie but from a young age she was a very mentally troubled person. She had a lack of discipline at a young age. Her Father neglected her as a child. But he had no problem using her as a meal ticket once she became famous. She had various mental issues such as <more>
depression and bulimia. Whilst I don't condone Drugs the doc does show you how and why people try and get hooked on them. The Doc is very fair in showing the good side and bad side of Amy. Ultimately it leaves it up to you to make your own judgement about her. My only gripe is that Amy's final Boyfriend Reg Traviss isn't in it at all. This is a huge omission considering he was with her until she died. Overall it is an amazing documentary that is thought provoking and will create a debate between people. RIP Amy 9/10
'Amy' Is a fantastic documentary about one of the Great Jazz Vocalists! (by bryank-04844)
Amy Winehouse might have been one of the best all time jazz singers in the world. In fact, I believe she still can hold that title, even almost five years after her death. Her voice was something unlike anyone ever heard and could be in the same league as Etta James, Billie Holiday, and Edith Piaf. In addition to her voice, she was charming, witty, and a ton of fun to be around. You just couldn't get enough of her likable personality. Unfortunately in 2011, Amy died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27, making her one of the latest members of the '27 club', which Jimi Hendrix, <more>
Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones all belong to.It's a very sad story, which director Asif Kapadia 'Senna' tells perfectly through only home video footage and present day voice interviews with those closest to the talented singer. Amy's parents, friends, and management company allowed for all of the intimate concert footage, behind the scenes footage, and the rare home movies to be showed here, however, Amy's parents are not too happy now, once they've seen the final product. This makes me laugh, because her parents aren't exactly good people, and were mostly responsible for her downfall.Simply titled 'Amy', we get a glimpse of Amy's life before she made it famous. She sure was a lot of fun, as we see her hanging out with friends and being a little ham at birthday parties or even pretending to give a house tour as a Spanish maid. It was quite funny. Even though it was later in her young life where the paparazzi were all over her 24/7, her friends and family had a camera in front of her, before she got famous, and even then, we could have seen how talented and fun she was.With interviews with her own parents, closest friends, and even Mark Ronson, Salaam Remi, Yassin Bey, Tony Bennett, and Questlove, we see through the eyes of those near her, what life was like. Even her awful human being of a lover she kept, Blake Fielder is interviewed here, and he is as atrocious as he was ten years ago, without a remorse for anything related to Amy or in life really. Once she started seeing the druggie Fielder, is where things started slowly going downhill, which is where this documentary turns to a more somber note.Don't get me wrong, Amy could have changed her ways, or even gotten better help, but she didn't know how to. And nobody close to her really was telling her "no", especially her parents. We all know how everything turned out, as it was widely reported in media. It's heartbreaking. But nobody can deny that she was one of the best jazz vocalists to have ever lived. Her almost instant rise to super stardom caused a lot of problems, because all she wanted to be was a normal person without all of the cameras in her face. 'Amy' is a solid tribute film to Amy Winehouse, one that she would be proud of, warts and all.
Asif Kapadia's poignant look at Amy Winehouse (by paul-allaer)
"Amy" 2015 release; 128 min. opens with Amy, then all of 14 yrs. old, signing happy birthday for one of her girlfriends. The documentary then swiftly goes on to 2001, when we see and hear Amy in a jazz band, and before we know it, we are already in 2003. Along the way we see Amy getting better at writing and singing, and at boozing too. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.Couple of comments: first, some 3-4 years ago, director Asif Kapadia made a riveting and outstanding documentary about the life and <more>
times of F-1 driver Ayrton Senna that was simply called "Senna". It went on to win multiple nominations and awards. So when I heard that a documentary on the life and times of singer Amy Winehouse was being made, and that none other than Asif Kapadia was the driving force behind it, I was reasonably sure that it would be a darn good film. Now that I have finally seen this, I can unequivocally state that this is a tough yet honest and of course an intrinsically very sad look at Amy Winehouse, but that as a documentary, "Amy" is top-notch, pure and simple. Kapadia had the full cooperation of the Winehouse family to all the archival footage and there seems to be a TON of it, including never before seen home footage , and he had also the final cut. As you may have heard, the Winehouse family, having seen the final cut, then disavowed the movie. Why, you may ask? Let's just say that Amy's dad, Mitchell, seems more interested in Amy's money than in Amy's well-being. And it's not like Kapadia has to make it up or anything: it's all right there on tape and in Mitch's own words! Wow. Second, there is some unbelievably great footage of Amy performing "Stronger Than Me" in 2003 at Island Records; "What Is It About Men" at the 2004 North Jazz Festival in Rotterdam; and most chilling of all, "Back to Black" filmed in the studio in what turns out to be the perfect take, where we hear Amy mostly a-cappella with her headphones on, and her arm casually on a chair, wow, just wow . There are many other stunning moments in this documentary, I can't even begin to list them all. Most amazing is of course that when Amy was at the peak of her creativity in 2006-07 , she was just 22-23 yrs. old. I saw Amy perform at Coachella in April, 2007, just as the rocket ship to fame and fortune was taking off. Incredible performance. Last, when Amy becomes the victim of her own success and is hounded relentlessly by the British paparazzi, it all feels eerily familiar to seeing Princess Diana in her last couple of years. Beware: "Amy" is at times uncomfortable viewing, for many reasons, but "Amy" simply reflects the uncomfortable aspects of Amy's life, and does not sugarcoat things or aims to make this film into a 'love letter' to Amy Winehouse. At times uncomfortable, yes, but riveting from start to finish, watch "Amy" scoop up many nominations when the awards season comes around later this year and in early 2016.I had been looking forward to seeing this for a long time. "Amy" finally opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati this weekend, and I couldn't wait to see it. The early evening screening where I saw this was very nicely attended, to my pleasant surprise. When word-of-mouth gets around, I bet this will play for quite a while in the theaters. If you like top-notch documentaries, regardless of whether you know much of Amy Winehouse going in, you cannot go wrong with this. "Amy" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
A very worthy attempt at bringing the Amy Winehouse story to the screen (by Red-Barracuda)
I remember when Amy Winehouse died back in 2011 it had a certain inevitability about it yet was still shocking and very sad. The media had made a meal out of her problems documenting them at every given opportunity and her increasingly emancipated appearance was publicised for all to see, courtesy of the lowlifes of the paparazzi. Hers was life in a goldfish bowl by the end and for a person who never wanted fame in the first place; this made her life all the more difficult. What complicated matters so fatally was that in amongst all of this, she had a predisposition for drink and drugs. The <more>
combination sent her spiralling on a downward trajectory.This documentary about her has been made by Asif Kapadia who directed the film Senna 2010 which remains one of the most highly respected documentaries of recent years. When you consider that that film was also about someone at the top of their field who died young in a dramatic and sudden manner, you could say that there are some similarities between both stories. But in reality the Amy Winehouse story is a much darker one, with its central character going on an extended path of self-destruction. And one in which we in the audience know only too well how it ends. The film is made up of home video and TV clips of Winehouse and fills in details with recollections of people who were close to her in the form of voice-overs, as opposed to a more traditional talking heads format. After the release of her definitive album Back to Black in 2006, Winehouse basically retreated and conducted next to no interviews which of course posed the film-makers some problems and the effect is that as the film goes on she becomes increasingly remote and we feel like we know her less.The contrast between the Amy of the early years to the one latterly seen is pretty pronounced. Her appearance became more intense and she quickly covered herself with an assortment of harsh tattoos. This phase coincided with her downward spiral with drink and drugs. It seems pretty clear that her attachment to her husband Blake Fielder was inextricably linked to this. He came across as a hanger-on who led her onto hard drugs and who then had little self-interest in getting her off them. The problem was that she loved him and it was this that made the situation so destructive. Throughout the film, as her songs play, her lyrics are displayed on screen and it is obvious that much of her music was based on highly personal emotional songs that constantly were sourced from her experiences in relationships. So much of her success was derived from this well of emotion but it was one that could equally destabilise her. This was only exacerbated by her bouts of depression and her problematic relationship with her dad.There is no getting away with the fact that this is a sad story; one that is all the more shaming when you consider that it played out so visibly in the public eye. But the public eye is very uncaring unfortunately and all too often empathises when it is far too late. But this film also captures the voice and the humour, so integral to Amy Winehouse. And so while it is impossible to ignore the tragedy, the beauty is here too. This was, after all, a very singular artist whose roots were in jazz, which is hardly a music for lightweights. Amy Winehouse was a proper talent who made music entirely on her own terms. If I was to criticise mildly it would be to say that the film itself might be marginally too long and perhaps goes over some ground more than it has to. But mainly this is ultimately a very worthy attempt to tell what is a complex and contrasting story to the screen with all its darkness and light.
The cover story of this week's edition of music magazine NME is: 'Who killed Amy?' It would have been a perfect title for this superb documentary. I went to see it, hoping it would answer two questions. One: could Amy Winehouse's death have been prevented in any way? Two: if so, by whom? The film provides crystal clear answers to both questions. One: no, it probably couldn't have been prevented - at best it could have been postponed. Two: several members of her entourage have probably contributed to her downward spiral. Her father, who wasn't there when he should be <more>
and was there when he shouldn't. Her husband, who encouraged her drugs abuse and seems to be an utterly despicable person. And the press, who relentlessly haunted her and enjoyed every misstep in her life. But the documentary also makes one thing very clear: in the end there's only one person responsible for Amy Winehouse's death: Amy Winehouse.Apart from providing a stunning insight in Winehouse's short life and career, 'Amy' is also a great movie from a cinematographic perspective. The unique feature is that it consists almost entirely of existing footage. It's absolutely incredible what the film makers with the help of the Winehouse family have unearthed. Lots of home videos, from her youth as well as from her later life, interviews, recording sessions, telephone conversations, even voice mail messages. Sometimes it almost feels uncomfortable to view images, clearly made for personal use, on a giant screen. But they are extremely revealing. There were numerous moments when I felt like saying: wow! The very first moments of the film are almost worth the ticket price. We see an amateur home video of a birthday party: 14 year old girls giggling and fooling around, until suddenly one of them starts singing 'Happy Birthday' with a voice and technique that seem to belong to Sarah Vaughan or Ella Fitzgerald. We also see Winehouse commenting after her first single has sold 800 copies, we see a hilarious scene during a holiday in Spain, but we also see her waving a bag of marijuana in front of the camera, we see her arguing with her father, visiting her incarcerated husband, and in one haunting scene, lying on the floor in what seems a drunken stupor.'Amy' tells an extremely sad story. It's told in all honesty: it shows how incredibly talented Winehouse was, and how dedicated to her music, but also how insecure and self-destructive. When one of her childhood friends tells how she felt when, in the end, Winehouse wasn't her old self anymore, she almost starts sobbing in the microphone. I have no doubt each and every one in the cinema theatre felt the same way after seeing this film.
Heartbreaking and captivating depiction of the life of an incredible talent (by themadmovieman)
This is a fascinating and heartbreakingly sad and dark depiction of the life of a brilliant singer. It's a touching testament to Winehouse's career, relationships and ups and downs, and it takes a very dramatic but powerful approach to telling the story in Asif Kapadia's inventive documentary style.Kapadia directed my favourite film of all time, Senna, which I have, after countless viewings, found to be incredibly powerfully emotional, consistently exciting and, most of all, stunningly original.Originality is a hard thing to come by in the documentary genre, but Kapadia, in both <more>
Senna and Amy, uses this fascinating style of presenting a documentary in the form of a narrative drama to make it a more engrossing and captivating experience, something that works so well, and makes for an absolutely brilliant watch.The story of Amy Winehouse is a bittersweet one, and this film does that reality justice. On the one hand, it does a fantastic job of showing her fun-loving and upbeat personality in the years before the health problems started, and it really gives you a lasting image of a completely different Amy Winehouse to the one that almost lived in infamy towards the end of the 2000s.However, on the other hand, this film is quite brutal and dark to watch due to its very realistic depiction of the impact of drugs, drinking and bad relationships on her life. In the second act of the film, Kapadia does a stunning job of showing how Winehouse's life completely disintegrated due to all of these problems, and it is a truly striking thing to watch.Despite the darkness of that part of the story, one thing that remains positive throughout is how the film celebrates Winehouse's incredible talent for jazz singing. It interlinks the events of her life with her earliest and most famous singles and turns them into strongly symbolic demonstrations of her deepest emotions and thoughts.Overall, this is a brilliantly intriguing documentary that will move you to the core. It uses a fantastically inventive narrative style to create a powerful story that shows so clearly the bittersweet nature of the life of an amazing singer.www.themadmovieman.com