Last night we watched the much anticipated documentary about singer Amy Winehouse, “Amy”. It was On Demand and I’m sure will pop up on all your favorite movie watching channels and websites soon. It was really well done. Whether you were a huge fan or not, I think you’ll be impressed by this project. It’s much more a documentary than a film…every scene is either private videos shot by friends and family or candid photos we’ve not seen before. And all of the narration is from the people who were part of her life from childhood until her tragic end. It does not have a “host”, all of the story is told by the people who were there.
But it’s NOT all sad.
And it’s not an exploitation of Amy. In fact, I think there were more happy, smiling moments than most of us can remember seeing when she was alive. Most of our memories (outside of her music) are of the end of times for her. The pictures in the gossip rags…the videos of poor performances…the heartless jokes. The film does show her decent into darkness, but it doesn’t live there.
We see a young woman who there but for The Grace of God, could have been any of our daughters, nieces, or friends…that’s the part I found really sad. “Amy” does such a great job taking us back to when she was just another VERY talented teenager…normal weight, normal personality, with endless potential. There never seems to be a time when she became full of herself and her talent. You don’t see any “diva-moments” of her yelling at employees or talking like she’s an extraordinary artist. She’s pretty lovable all the way though.
And to me…that’s the tragedy of Amy’s life. She was a true “artist” in the way you can’t fake. All of her songs were about her own experiences. Her musical style was based on her appreciation for jazz, 60’s Girl Groups and later on even Rap. The highlight of her life seemed to be singing a duet with Tony Bennett.
She was totally humbled in his presence…Mr. Bennet was like a warm, supporting Grandfather during the session, while at the same time in awe of Amy’s gift for song. And this was after quite a few “slips” in her life…like most of the people we know with drug and alcohol problems, there were times when she got back up and nailed it.
I found a few things to be very revealing about Amy Winehouse and life in general from this documentary:
- Bad Parenting can really mess up your kids. Her folks were just not good at being parents. You’ll hear and see this right away in the film. They were separated when she was quite young. Her Mom didn’t want to discipline her…her Dad only came back when she got famous and exploited her at every turn. (still does. see pic)
- . If you pick the wrong ‘soul-mate”, you’re giving them the keys to your life. And if your soul mate is destined to destroy you, it’s only a matter of time.
- There’s no such thing as casual crack or heroin use. Sadly, too many of us know this to be true. It will suck the life right out of you…especially the joyful part. Being a Child of the 60s myself and a Jazz-fan all my life, I’m a sucker for a beehive and heavy mascara. I fell in love with Amy in the first 10 seconds that I heard “Back to Black”. But I feel differently now about her after watching “Amy”. In addition to great affection and admiration, I now feel I know her true heart…her real personality. In a way I feel less sad for her because I know her life wasn’t all bad. I feel more empathy and shame for how we all just “watched”, waiting for her final performance. That’s a sickness in our culture. To be honest with you, I cried while writing this blog…not while watching the film. That’s why to me, “Amy” is worth watching, links to the movie previews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3lZcrzzcM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJKIwNtLgwk