Although it seems like ages ago, it wasn’t too long ago when the world was first introduced to the British sensation known as Amy Winehouse. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after that when even those of us who never became fans got to know the troubles that proved to be even larger than her talents. While being blessed with obvious musical gifts, she unfortunately also battled numerous demons that proved to be far too great for her to overcome.
A24 films’ documentary about her life speaks on that stuff. As you’ll notice if you watch it for yourself, her talent and her battles are put under a keen eye as audiences are asked to enter her world and understand just who she was and how she came to be such an intriguing personality in pop culture. Told from a perspective which features views and opinions from people who actually knew her, we gain enough access to learn about seemingly all of the most important aspects of her life.
I was worried about the length of this documentary before I sat down to watch it for myself. It’s two hours and eight minutes long. That length is pretty rare when speaking about documentaries, so you can see why some people would be hesitant about watching it. Thankfully, director Asif Kapadia is able to piece together a fantastic piece of work that gives us an extensive look at Amy’s life from her time as a child all the way to her passing.
If you want to see Amy from a purely analytical perspective, it won’t be that difficult to do. One of the ways that you can accomplish that is just by looking at how Winehouse’s life compares to that of an average person. To me, Amy is not only taking a long look at the songstress, it’s also speaking about things such as the importance of parenting and how a lack of it can damage children even after they become adults.
From an entertainers point of view, this documentary also shows viewers a part of celebrity that doesn’t get showcased enough as far as I’m concerned. The lifestyle is seen as glamorous, but although we know that a ton of questionable stuff goes on behind the scenes, it’s never really presented with this much detail. From my point of view, this gives people an opportunity to learn while focusing on Winehouse about how bad things can be when you lose control of yourself and any sense of rationality.
In saying all of this, Amy manages to transform Winehouse into a human being with sympathetic qualities. Some people have only seen her as some kind of freakshow or circus act with the many issues that she carried along with her onto the various stages and music studios she visited, but the truth is she was a young woman with a troubled disposition from early on in her life.
When we have a chance to analyze people like her or Michael Jackson or even a Chris Brown, we’re able to see that they’re people that we probably shouldn’t be making fun of. Sure, they may act in unusual ways, but we don’t always observe them while truly getting understanding the lives they led before we ever even heard of them. If we did, maybe people would hope for the best instead of mocking them and their issues.
Anyway, I’m confident in saying that Amy will be considered one of the best documentaries that will be released this year at the very least. If you have the ability to watch and learn about life, then it would be difficult to see how you could be disappointed by what you witness while taking in this documentary. It’s raw, it’s informative, it’s captivating and above all else, it’s human.
Director: Asif Kapadia
Film Length: 128 minutes
Release Date: July 10, 2015
Distributor: A24 Films