I recently went to see the documentary film about Amy Winehouse simply called “Amy”. I was curious to see it as I had always enjoyed her music and found her a sort of fascinating creature. The film depicts the life and death of the singer as well as her struggle with fame and addiction. It is directed by Asif Kapadia who also directed “Senna”. The movie has a slightly Shakespearean like quality to it from the get go because of course the audience already knows how it ends. This doesn’t stop us from willing her on or from hoping against hope that someone will ride in on a white horse and change her fate.
The film opens with a home movie featuring a 14 year old Winehouse singing Happy Birthday to her long time friend Lauren Gilbert. This footage serves as a quick reminder to the audience of the kind of talent that Winehouse possessed, a beautiful voice that was really beyond her years. From there on the film is a collection of mostly audio interviews with family members, friend, producers, managers etc, along side unseen video footage that is often accompanied by Amy’s own music in the background. Kapadia cleverly weaves together over a 100 interviews and video footage in a way that provides the audience with a rare insight into her life and career. From the outside it seems like the age old story of someone who was gripped by fame at an early age and died from addiction and access but in reality it’s not quite that simple. The old cliche doesn’t quite fit in this case.