The music world sustained a huge hit the day that jazz/pop vocalist Amy Winehouse died.
An artist so beloved by both fans and industry professionals who had a *huge* hit of an album to her name dying was a shock to the system back in 2011. If you’re a dedicated fan who can sing “Rehab” or “Back To Black” from memory or a casual observer aiming to see what all the fuss is about, Senna director Asif Kapadia’s new documentary Amy introduces and immediately challenges what the world thought of her. She was a multi-faceted and ultimately authentic woman, and Amy is the closest the public will likely ever come to decoding her immense talent and highly guarded life.
Though she didn’t truly hit it big until Back To Black and its lead single “Rehab” blew our minds back in 2006, Amy’s career began in her early to mid teens, singing songs in bars and clubs throughout North London and casting a spell over the world. Amy’s story is told largely through archival footage ranging from her late childhood up until her tragic death at 27 due to a drug overdose, and believe me when I say that the treatment of her life is *exhaustive*. Her friends, her parents, her extended family ex-lovers, bodyguards, and fellow musicians offer insight and perspective that seeks to dismantle the caricatured junkie image that Winehouse was reduced to by many in the media.
There’s been much talk of Amy’s family having problems with omitted footage and distorted messages, but the media machine itself is the closest thing that Amy has to an overriding villainous force; massive chunks of the second and third acts show Amy bobbing and weaving through crowds of paparazzo and the all-seeing eyes of their cameras; it gives Amy’s deteriorating condition real poignance, especially as musicians the likes of Mos Def, Tony Bennett, and Questlove (who reportedly broke down during a screening of the film he hosted) wax poetic about plans for the future that never were. As far as music documentaries go, Amy is a comprehensive swan song and an intriguing crash course on a talent who left us before her time.
– CineMasai is dreading the eventual biopic of Amy’s life.