Classic Movie Review: Amy (2015)

Posted: February 27, 2016 in Documentary, Music

amy winehouse

The documentary of Amy Winehouse depicts the life, career and death of the singer from 1998 to 2011.

It’s a familiar story, especially in rock and roll, that a talented yet vulnerable girl gets caught up in the money and fame of the rock and roll lifestyle and finds herself overdoing the drugs and drink that become readily available in the midst of the fame and fortune.  Partaking in drugs and alcohol has almost become the rock and roll cliché, but no matter how many times the story is portrayed, it never loses its power or sadness.  The rock n’ roll cliché played itself out again with the alcohol overdose of Amy Winehouse.

What this film does so well is that it visually illustrates the absolutely ravaging effects of heroin and alcohol addiction.  The viewer can absolutely see the stark difference between the happy, fresh faced 16 year old Amy Winehouse, and the haggard, wasted, burned out Amy Winehouse at age 27, the difference is jolting.  The film has so much inside footage and commentary from friends, manager and parents, it’s like having a front row seat to someone’s inner turmoil, and eventual decline.  The story is especially distressing because the viewer sees her life from the beginning of her ascent, and is powerless to change downward spiral of the story.

I only knew about Winehouse from her hit single “Rehab” but that song really did not do justice to her immense talent.  What this film also does well is showcases her music, and her incredible voice.  She was truly a jazz singer, in an age of pop divas, and that is rare indeed.  She wrote about her life in her songs, the first songs she wrote were poems that turned into lyrics, and she sang those songs with  such a deep, rich and soulful voice, that it was a pleasure, but also heartbreaking to listen to. And the viewer is only left to wonder why no one could or would help this vulnerable girl when she needed it.

This is a very powerful film, and its power comes from its simplicity.  It does not try to have a point of view, but simply lays out the facts the way they were, and that’s the best kind of documentary.  It is nominated for an Oscar, and should win it.  I feel empty after watching it, and if a documentary can illicit those kind of emotions, it deserves to be rewarded.

Amy:  A powerful documentary.

 

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