Many will recall reading of her downward spiral in the magazines and viewing countless photographs of her walking the streets, her general appearance being gaunt and unhealthy and wearing little clothing. Amy, a documentary film directed by Asif Kapadia focuses on the story of soul singer Amy Winehouse from her life as an aspiring teenage singer through to her subsequent death from alcohol poisoning in 2011.
The success of Amy is not surprising and completely deserved. As a young girl, all I ever knew of Amy Winehouse was what I had read in the tabloids of her alcoholism and her drug abuse. I envisioned someone who was difficult, someone who was a diva – and such a perception is touched upon within the feature.
What makes this motion picture so special is not particularly how they portrayed her demise; but how they illustrated the real Amy; her wonderful soul, and her beautiful and passionate talent. What struck me was her humble and innocent nature, and her somewhat innate need to create music.
Reading reports on the star in popular coffee stand magazines as a young girl, I was not aware of her infectious personality that is depicted superbly throughout the documentary and the undeniable talent she held for translating her numerous personal struggles into music.
Amy highlights the true friendships in the singer’s life, including touching and personal moments between herself and her childhood friends shortly before her death. The film also subtly raises questions on the relationships and motives behind her former husband Blake Fielder-Civil, and most interestingly her father, who is shown to allow a camera crew to follow him and his daughter around St Lucia where she is recovering from a drug overdose; all without her permission.
Other than the depiction of Amy, some of my favourite aspects of the film were rather than having friends, family and co-workers of Amy seen on screen being interviewed, only their voices could be heard talking over archive footage of the star, which allowed for a more personal experience with Amy rather than with her peers. With incredible sweeping shots of various areas of London and New York, and haunting lyrics appearing onscreen each time Amy would begin to sing; Amy’s cinematography and direction deserves every acknowledgment it can get.
Scenes such as an intoxicated Amy willing herself to perform on stage by slapping and punching her jaw not only emphasise her battle between her passion for music and addiction to drugs, but left me feeling particularly distressed. Upon leaving George Street’s Curzon cinema in Sheffield, the ideal private venue to watch such a moving and extraordinary film; I realised I had left feeling towards Amy the same way I would feel towards a friend. I believe this was the intention of the documentary, hence why the title read ‘Amy’ rather than ‘Amy Winehouse’ or ‘The Rise and Fall of Amy Winehouse’.
All in all, Amy strikes you in an unexpected way. Rather than watching a documentary of a celebrity; you find yourself viewing first hand, the memoir of a friend, daughter and most importantly, a human being.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to like, share on your numerous social networks and leave a comment etc. The Kaspari giveaway is closes on 25th July.
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