Amy Winehouse: This just isn’t as fun without drugs.
Almost 4 years ago, British soul singer Amy Winehouse joined the infamous “27 Club”, the exclusive list of famous musicians and artists whose lives have ended in their 27th year. Kurt Cobain and Jean-Michel Basquiat are just two other examples of this long documented phenomena, artists who left us in the prime of their works. Winehouse’s death came as a shock to fans all over the world who had followed her long standing battle with drugs and bulimia, her tumultuous relationships and even more, her incredible music career. Adif Kapadia (SENNA) shines a new light on the late singer with his new film, simply titled AMY, that focuses on the singers exceptional lyrical talent as an intimate portrait and exploration into who she was.
Using family and press videos, AMY recounts the singers early years as a slightly rebellious but incredibly talented teenager whose only desire in life was to write music and sing. As Amy works hard to secure a music career, we are shown clips that reveal just how talented she was as not only a singer, but a lyricist who poured herself into her music. As music plays over video montage, lyrics on the screen work to emphasize the point being made. Seemingly gimmicky, it eventually becomes clear how important the lyrics are to this movie and to figure out who she was. As in her most famous song “Rehab” she states “and if my daddy thinks I’m fine” we see a clip of father Mitch Winehouse blatantly stating that his daughter had no reason to be in rehab and never agreed on the first attempt to place Amy in a facility. While he doesn’t exactly come across as father of the year, this scene alone reveals much about the singers troubled life, especially with relationships with those closest to her. The personal revelations in the film work to make her album “Back to Black” seem more like a diary than anything else and is ultimately far more personal than her previous work.
AMY is the documentary we fans have been waiting for, a film that doesn’t ignore her fame, but also humanizes her, allowing us to see what a troubled artist she was and the struggle she went though with drugs, her monumental fame and the paparazzi. A must see film for any fan of Winehouse, or music in general. But one piece of advice: bring some tissues, you’ll need them.