Review – Amy

Back to black and back…

Asif Kapadia’s film Amy documents the life and death of Jazz singer Amy Winehouse. The documentary includes several home videos presumably filmed by her friends and clips from concerts and interviews. We all know who she was and who the media portrayed her to be, but this film gives insight on the real Amy. You couldn’t pick up a tabloid or read an entertainment blog without reading about Winehouse’s shenanigans. She had an addictive and destructive personality with neglectful parents, but she was not necessarily the mess the media made her out to be. In fact, I found her story to be incredibly relatable

While her talent was always undeniable, she never thought about being a professional musician and she did not want to be famous. She told a friend “I don’t think I’m gonna be at all famous. I don’t think I can handle it. I would probably go mad, you know what I mean? I would go mad.” Kapadia leads you to believe that Winehouse’s surprise fame led to her inevitable death, though being failed by her father both in youth and adulthood was definitely a factor, and husband Blake Fielder seemingly using her fame and fortune as a means to constantly score heroin and keep them both on a downward spiral of addiction contributed as well. The film shows how intrusive the paparazzi was in her life and how even her own father, whom she desperately wanted to be accepted by, seemed to sell her out at every opportunity. Even Fielder, who conveniently popped back into her life during her rise to fame and left her when shit hit the fan, seemed to be after her more as a money making commodity, and unfortunately she was too in love with him to see through it.

It was one scene towards the end of the film, where Amy met and sang with her idol Tony Bennett that really showed how fragile and insecure she was. After feeling that she messed up on a track, she clearly beats herself up and tells Bennett “I just don’t wanna to waste your time.” While I found Amy Winehouse’s story touching, I have to wonder how the shy and reclusive artist who only wanted to be judged for her music and nothing more would feel about being thrown back into the spotlight in such a revealing, somewhat sensationalistic and tabloid-y way. No way to know now, as Amy the celebrity is lost and all that remains are the fruits of the too-brief career of Amy the artist. She probably would’ve at least liked that.


Megan Hawkey is the co-founder of Riot-Nerd. She is a 34-year-old concert photographer. She lives in Fishtown with her supportive husband and their 2 rescued Pitbull mixes.
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