Starring: Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, Tyler James
Director: Asif Kapadia
Running Time: 128 mins
Amy is a British documentary about the short life of legendary jazz singer Amy Winehouse, whose incredible talent was cut short by problems with drinking and drugs.
This is a fascinating and heartbreakingly sad and dark depiction of the life of a brilliant singer. It’s a touching testament to Winehouse’s career, relationships and ups and downs, and it takes a very dramatic but powerful approach to telling the story in Asif Kapadia’s inventive documentary style.
Kapadia directed my favourite film of all time, Senna, which I have, after countless viewings, found to be incredibly powerfully emotional, consistently exciting and, most of all, stunningly original.
Originality is a hard thing to come by in the documentary genre, but Kapadia, in both Senna and Amy, uses this fascinating style of presenting a documentary in the form of a narrative drama to make it a more engrossing and captivating experience, something that works so well, and makes for an absolutely brilliant watch.
The story of Amy Winehouse is a bittersweet one, and this film does that reality justice. On the one hand, it does a fantastic job of showing her fun-loving and upbeat personality in the years before the health problems started, and it really gives you a lasting image of a completely different Amy Winehouse to the one that almost lived in infamy towards the end of the 2000s.
However, on the other hand, this film is quite brutal and dark to watch due to its very realistic depiction of the impact of drugs, drinking and bad relationships on her life. In the second act of the film, Kapadia does a stunning job of showing how Winehouse’s life completely disintegrated due to all of these problems, and it is a truly striking thing to watch.
Despite the darkness of that part of the story, one thing that remains positive throughout is how the film celebrates Winehouse’s incredible talent for jazz singing. It interlinks the events of her life with her earliest and most famous singles and turns them into strongly symbolic demonstrations of her deepest emotions and thoughts.
Overall, I’ll give this an 8.4, because it is a brilliantly intriguing documentary that will move you to the core. It uses a fantastically inventive narrative style to create a powerful story that shows so clearly the bittersweet nature of the life of an amazing singer.