Amy showed at the International FilmFest but was a sure thing to come back on a general release, so I was super keen to go and see it when it came out in the Lighthouse Cuba.
I was never the biggest Amy Winehouse fan, not buying any of her albums or following her that much, but her voice was incredibly soulful, her songs seemed wilfully self destructive and her end seemed totally tragic, so this film, documenting her lightning fast rise and fall, grabbed my attention as a must see.
And it was hypnotic. Interviewing friends and family, the film showed how success came hard and fast for her, and how those around her sometimes either abused their association with her for their own personal gain, or failed to fully see the effect it all had on her. Her father comes off particularly badly, and he has since criticised the film for being inaccurate, but while you can see why he tries to claim he had no part in Amy’s demise, the actions shown in the film seem to prove otherwise.
Winehouse comes across as an incredibly driven and talented entertainer, a huge fan of jazz in all its forms, and a vey public woman who used her private life to fill her songs with soul and meaning. She also loved with all her heart, though from the looks of it, her big loves – her husband and her father – both let her down.
I was completely engrossed in the movie, but I was distracted by a couple near me who seemed anything but. They played in a cell phone, showing each other messages and the glare of the screen lighting up the room, talking in a loud whisper (so basically just talking) and then hopping out for a wine stop. And I wasn’t the poor person sitting right next to them either. Sigh.
Still, the music and Winehouse’s voice were completely distracting, and putting the songs in context and seeing how they told her story were amazingly engaging and engrossing. While I didn’t hang around to see how long the distracted couple hung around so that people could pelt them with tomatoes, I left with a sense of sadness, but some incredible tunes in my head.
Verdict: Amy was an incredible documentary that deserves the accolades, especially when it has so much to teach us as those who all contributed to the type of society that helped cause Amy’s death. 8 rehab clinics out of 10.