Amy: a Tragic Documentary

4 years ago by Chris

Asif Kapadia’s Amy, documentary on the deceased singer Amy Winehouse, was featured at this year’s at Cannes Film Festival. It is an intense take on her life, bringing her back to the screen.

Basic Premise
The titular documentary about Amy Winehouse in her own words features real footage and unreleased songs.

Story Arc
The documentary shows her loneliness, anger, desire to love, her professional career, addictions and her inability to deal with her celebrity status. The documentary is a docu-collage. It is composed of entirely of home videos and TV footage. Hence, the actual singer is shown in close-ups for the entirety of the documentary. In her outlook, she is a commanding person, showing the exuberance of Barbra Streisand.

The director had to research material, edit out parts and make judgment calls. The director here portrays the fate of Amy Winehouse from the viewpoint of those she knew and her father. Her inspiration for a music career came from her jazz-lover father originally. The song Rehab is the powerhouse of the documentary, a relentless musical moment of destiny. She refused rehab as she thought it was a hint of hypocrisy for the celebrities to turn to after their string of lavish living.

Asif Kapadia attempts to imply her father attempted to get her to go to rehab amid her busy concerts and recording schedule. The documentary doesn’t excuse her, showing her as a driven and difficult person. Moreover, the director reveals a lineup of male colleagues termed as friends, leaving an open ending for the audience to decide their actual relationship with her. The culprit, as per the documentary, is Amy’s husband Blake, a toxic relationship in itself, who introduced her to drugs. The documentary is made moving by her father’s melancholy presence.

Controversy at Helm
Mitch Winehouse (father of the deceased singer) soon felt they were shown in a negative light and Amy’s negative aspects got a majority of the attention. The entire documentary seemed to portray a false opinion of Amy’s life. He tagged the documentary as preposterous. The documentary is a passionate but harrowing tribute to her saddening trajectory of destined to doom life. Her voice change from north Londoner type to a swift textured Sarah Vaughn singing voice is spellbinding.

The ending is as obvious as Titanic but it seems intensely harrowing. The film has a genuine tragic depth to it. It shows how mercilessly Amy Winehouse approached her impending fate which was clear to everyone, yet no one could help Amy avert it.

Photo credit: Facebook/Amy movie

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