She was an old soul, a jazz singer with an amazing voice and a penchant for fast living and hard drugs. She was Amy Winehouse and the world has never know a voice like hers and never will again.
Directed by Asif Kapadi and simply titled ” Amy” the movie is a collection of both official footage and never before seen home movies that documents the singers humble beginnings through to her meteoric rise to fame, her sad downfall and untimely death of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27.
The movie opens with a shaky home video of a fourteen year old Amy singing Happy Birthday to a friend where her remarkable voice is unleashed on film for the first time. Her friends and family tell touching stories of her, remembering the friend they loved and lost. Surprisingly her ex husband and the man who some say destroyed her Blake Fielder- Civil makes an appearance, but he does not speak of Amy in a bitter way, just more matter-of – fact. Mos Def her close friend also offering his memories of a girl who was close to his heart.
At times the footage shows a rare insight to a girl who many have dubbed a musical genius and captures the troubled soul that she was. Surrounded by “Yes Men” and a husband and father that were only to happy to ride the gravy train that Amy provided for them one can only ponder that if she had never met Fielder- Civil and the destructive relationship that was to torment her- what could have happened, perhaps she may have lived. When Fielder- Civil appears on screen its almost cringe- worthing knowing that this is the man that introduced her to hard drugs.
Peppered throughout the footage is live performances, music and songs that were never released as the lyrics flash onto the screen, highlighting what a brilliant song writer she was. Sessions in the recording studio show the creative process offering glimpses into her rare talent. It is a solemn reminder that had she lived the music she could have produced would have possibly been even more exceptional as she matured.
For any fan of enigmatic songstress it is a rare insight to a girl who was both as brilliant as she was troubled. It is requiem for a beautifully talented woman who the whole world wanted a piece of who in the end just wanted to hide; it will leave you just a little heartbroken. It is a chance to see her at her most vulnerable and her most raw self. With home shot footage you get the true Amy, away from the spotlight as her friends saw her, not as she was portrayed in the media. It’s a heartbreaking truth that is weighed down by the fact that she died far too young and became yet another member of the macarbe 27 club.