Amy

"Excellent"

Amy Review


As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to explore the wrenching story of Amy Winehouse. It's a strikingly journalistic approach that refuses to let anyone off the hook even as it draws out their deepest emotions. Lyrically edited by Chris King, the film is both beautiful and achingly sad, especially as it engulfs the audience on a big cinema screen.

A naturally gifted musician, Amy started writing her own songs at age 14 and had a publishing deal by 16, performing in small clubs as well as with the National Youth Jazz orchestra. At 20, her debut 2003 album Frank caused ripples in the industry with its jazz-infused vocals. And three years later, her follow-up Back in Black catapulted her into global stardom, something she never wanted. To escape the clamouring paparazzi and ever-larger audiences, she retreated into her on-off relationship with Blake Fielder, including a two-year marriage. But their key escape was to use large quantities of alcohol and drugs, which began to take a toll on Amy's career, leading to rambling interviews and shambolic stage appearances. In her lucid moments, she still had that raw power, and a series of rehab stints helped her conquer drugs. But in 2011, her alcohol consumption finally stopped her heart, which had been weakened by decades of bulimia.

Kapadia recounts this story using a staggering array of home movies, performance footage and press imagery, letting her prescient song lyrics play out across the screen as she performs them in homes, recording studios, TV shows and a variety of stages. Meanwhile, she tells her story in voiceover taken from interviews, plus new comments from her family, friends and colleagues. All of this is assembled with skill by the filmmakers to recount Amy's story chronologically, never shying away from the hard truths while refusing to let those closest to her adjust the material to revise history. In other words, it's sometimes brutally honest, not in the way it assigns blame but in the way it creates a portrait of a system that feeds off artists without properly looking out for them.

The most striking element here is Amy's eating disorder, which seems to have been dismissed by her family and friends without much concern while the gossip websites and late-night TV comics focussed on her erratic addiction problems. Meanwhile, the people around Amy needed her to keep working to feed the machine, pressuring her to take gigs she couldn't perform and write songs for another album. And what emerges is a portrait of an unusually talented young woman who hated the trappings of fame and the demands of an ever-growing audience. She just wanted to sing.

Watch the trailer for Amy here:



Amy

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd July 2015

Distributed by: World Wide Motion Pictures

Production compaines: A24, On The Corner Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Asif Kapadia

Producer:

Starring: as Elle-même, as Producteur, as Chanteur, as Musicien, Blake Fielder as Ex-mari, Juliette Ashby as Une amie, Yasiin Bey as Artiste hip-hop, Salaam Remi as Producteur

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.