Let me state for the record that I’ve never been a huge Amy Winehouse fan. I had heard a few of her songs, and while I certainly had no negative opinions toward her, I never really caught on to the craze. And before I could, it was too late – the media had already gotten it’s hands on her, tearing her down for all she was worth. She had become a caricature of herself, and I found myself unwilling to jump on the bandwagon. Maybe it was selfish of me, but I simply didn’t have the energy to fall in love with another pop star seemingly hell-bent on her own destruction.
I realize now how wrong I was – Amy Winehouse was a talent worth fighting for, a force unmatched, and not just a pop star, but a legend.
Directed by Asif Kapadia, Amy, a documentary carefully pieced together by unseen footage of the late singer, introduces us to an Amy Winehouse we never knew we lost.
We meet her at age 16 – a vibrant, sassy, sharp teenager, and follow her on her journey to superstardom, as those closest to her narrate the film. Touching and personal, the artistry of the documentary lies in Kapadia’s choice to never take Amy off the screen; the voices of her loved ones remain as narration as Amy comes to life through their words.
Interspersed are clips of Amy talking directly to the camera, always to a close friend on the other end, and we feel as though she is speaking to us. Insomuch, we are left feeling as close to her as they do, and she becomes our friend, or even part of our family.
“I’m not a girl trying to be a star or anything other than a musician.” Quotes like these from Amy help to tell the story of a humble girl from North London who never wanted anything more than to play music, something she did incredibly well with a forcefield of passion. And as this genuine musician walks the path to fame in front of our eyes, we are forlorn because this time we know how it ends – and it’s too late to change it. Furthermore, we feel slightly responsible.
Kapadia explains in an interview with The Guardian, “There are lots of people who make lots of decisions or who were aware of one thing — whether it was the drinking, the bulimia, or the drugs — and nobody stopped it… It’s not just about her any more, it’s about us. It’s about the city, it’s about the media, it’s about everything, people who have taken this in, enjoying, laughing about her.”
The film, which opens worldwide on July 10th, has received massive critical acclaim, with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 4 out of 5 starts from The Telegraph, and 5 out of 5 from The Independent, to name a few.
The heartbreaking film will leave you shaking, emotionally pierced, and greatly missing a friend you never realized you had.
My advice? See it. Learn Amy’s story, and for the first time, really hear her words. And you will realize that somewhere out there, her light is still shining. Because a light that bright never dies.