This documentary will challenge everything anyone thought they knew about Amy Winehouse.
The tragic death of the English soul and jazz singer at the age of 27 in 2011 ended a talent that had brought us the five Grammy Award winning album Back to Black and powerful songs such as 2008’s “Rehab”.
Director Asif Kapadia, who also made the critically acclaimed documentary Senna, has pieced together some of the best memories of the singer, smashing the disgusting judgements that the mainstream media made about her during her lifetime.
He reveals the consequences for artists who dare to be original within an industry of puppets.
The film focuses on Amy’s unique connection to music and how that shaped her success. Her lyrics, her sound, the rawness of her voice and her ability to truly convey emotion through her songs are just some of the things that made her such an incredible artist.
Winehouse grew up in suburban London, an ordinary woman trying to make genuine music. Millions of listeners across the globe could relate to what she sang about; but the film makes it clear that Amy did not make music for money or fame.
She admitted fame scared her and predicted she would go mad were she to become a part of that life.
This film shows a woman trapped in an industry which needed to constantly mould her into something she was not in order to keep up with competing artists.
The reality of trying to be an artist under capitalism is that you will be treated as a commodity more than you will be treated as a human being. For her manager, her dad, for the music industry and for the media the measure of her music was the money it made.
Amy had a tough family life; she had pressures on her as a woman; she had a lack of opportunities—that is why her music was her escape, it was her outlet and it was her drug. Yet unlike real drugs, music was something she had control over.
So once her music was being managed and moulded by other people, it’s no surprise she turned to drink and drugs. Music was her most important tool of expression; when her music was taken away from her, she was taken away from us.
I highly recommend this film to her fans, fans of music and fans of change — Amy was a glimmer of hope in a hollow industry and her story is a lesson in just how poisonous the commodification of music can be.