Asif Kapadia has made the documentary using voice overs and footage from her interviews, answerphone video and tracks her life in a subtle and beautiful way that is not suggestive and blaming but strong and calm.
Amy Winehouse life came to a tragic yet anticipated end at the tender age of 27 due to alcohol poisoning. There are a lot of media tabloids that have recorded her demise into drug and alcohol infested life while none took the pains to explore the story behind what was Amy Winehouse.
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Four years later, Asif Kapadia and producer James Gay-Reese present the documentary Amy to the world that is the record of the rise of Amy Winehouse to fame and then her fall which eventually ended into death.
Kapadia has executed a strong and quietly devastating documentary of Amy’s life that gives the audience the experience of living her life with her. It has quite aptly signified the factors that were the cause of her fall and the people that struggled to save her as she fell more and more into the maze of fame and the debauched industry of fashion and music.
The pattern of the movie is based on pieces of lengthy audio clips that Kapadia recorded and received from various sources. They were voiced over on clips and video footages from various interviews, both public and private, behind the scenes video clips, home video and even her answerphone clips. In between were also montages of photographs that signified the words in the voiceovers.
Kapadia’s work was made easier still as the people who had struggled to fight for Amy’s life also became a part of the documentary including her mother Janis, her lifelong friends Juliette Ashby and Lauren Gilbert, her first manager, Nick Shymansky who expressed that he wanted to save Amy form the devastation that overcame her even her bodyguard who sat by Amy’s side, calm, quite and supporting trying a last ditch effort to salvage her life.
And then there is her ex- husband Blake Fielder-Civil who introduced Amy to the drug filled existence and her father, Mitch Winehouse, who abandoned his family when Amy was 9 and later on played a part in keeping Amy from righting her life by telling her she didn’t need rehab. That part was heavily featured in Amy’s hit “Rehab”.
The documentary starts with Amy singing Happy Birthday at her friend Lauren’s party at the age of 14. Even then her voice has a deep angelic quality of singing the blues. Her friend called her "a very old soul in a very young body," Her ability to make music and to adore jazz idolizing such singers as Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan; it gave her a beautiful sound. The documentary signifies her ability to make beautiful music and how it signified the events of her own life. "Success to me, she is heard saying, is having the freedom to work. Leave me alone and I will do the music.
Unfortunately, the media tabloids and fame got in the way of interfering with her life so much that drink, drug and failed love took over and became the focus of her life. With that her issues with bulimia made matters worse.
Despite all the negativity, the two things that were with her all the time was her music which was her console till her last days when she recorded a duet with Tony Bennett, one of her idol into a beautiful rendition of ‘Body and Soul”. Along with that the people who loved and supported her and is made to feel almost sorry for in their attempts to save the young singer.
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The documentary does not exploit any part of Amy’s life, be it good or bad but the gradual rendition of her life that moved from a better path to devastating turns under influence of the wrong factors. Critics have received the documentary full-heartedly because of its warmth and significant quality to signify what Tony Bennett said would have been a legend of she had lived.