Amy Winehouse’s obvious talents were tainted by a media that emphasised her big hair, her rocky relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil and her dependence of drugs and alcohol. The new documentary by Asif Kapadia (Senna) attempts to dissipate this fog of misinformation exposing a fact that can easily be forgiven: Amy was a person.
Through mixture of home videos, talking heads, paparazzi photos and new articles, Kapadia builds up a multimedia picture of Winehouse’s rise fame. Along the way, we see a little girl who never truly grew up when it came to her father, Mitch Winehouse. In the biopic of Amy’s life Mitch would be the bad guy. Faced with her daughter’s crippling addictions, Mitch seems to keep one eye on the ticket sales at all times. He was a man who perchance didn’t always know what his daughter needed.
Whilst there are to be expected moments of heartbreak, Amy throws light on the star who was as quick-witted as she was talented. Someone who didn’t take fools gladly. A particular choice clip sees Winehouse struggling to hide her displeasure as a rambling journo compares her to Dido.
Kapadia falls down though when he dips his toe in the ghoulishness he calls the media out on. Footage of Winehouse’s body being carried out of the house and footage of her funeral seem tasteless when stack against everything else.
Intimate and captivating, Amy is still however a wonderful portrait of someone who should have been given another go of life.