This is a moving and frank documentary that is definitely worth watching!
I was amazed at the amount of footages of videos and pictures of Amy Winehouse from her childhood and her childhood friends, and interviews with close relatives and colleagues.
The biopic opens with Amy singing ‘Moon River’ as a teenager. I had never heard her sing this song before, and I was mesmerized.
Amy decided that “singing was always important to me but I didn’t think it would be a career” and “I don’t write unless it’s personal to me. I want my own style, and I write my own songs.”
When she first moved to her own flat upon signing the first recording contract, she happily smoked all day because she could “not do that in mum’s house”.
Her friends commented that she was “a complete force of nature’, “like a powerful man”, “with a lot of charisma” and “who likes to get people in a comfortable position and then ready to shock them”. She was “an old soul in a very young body”.
Her mother remarked, “when Amy made her mind up, she made her mind up” while Amy said that her mum was “so soft with me that I could get away with murder”. Amy also said that “my dad was never there”. Her father had an affair with another woman and her parents separated when she was 9.
Amy was on anti-depressants but she said she “didn’t think (she) knew what being depressed was. (She) thought it was just a musician thing”.
Success to Amy meant “having the freedom to work with whoever (she) wanted to work with”, she wanted people to “leave (her) alone so (she) coud do (her) music”.
She was just a charming, sweet lady who could drink anyone under the table. She had a giant laugh and was a sweetheart. But her drinking habit deteriorated to such an extent that she was advised to go to rehab. However, her father thought she didn’t need rehab. That was an opportunity lost.
Amy won 5 Grammys. There was nothing that could have prepared her for that kind of success.
She also had quite a turbulent love life. She was married for just over 2 years and she wrote in one of her songs that “I cheated myself… Love is trouble”.
She first tried cocaine during her marriage. Later, she took heroine. She was a vey vulnerable woman, supplementing alcohol with drugs.
The most cherished segment for me was when she recorded ‘Body and Soul’ with the legendary Tony Bennett at the Abbey Road Studios! She was awed by the fact that her idol wanted to sing a duet with her! She was very nervous during the session and Tony Bennett calmed her down by saying that “the best artists I have ever met are the most nervous”. Later, he commented that “Amy is a natural true jazz singer who doesn’t like a hundred people in front of her”.
Towards the end, Amy didn’t want to perform but she had to. She wanted to escape; she felt it was like the end but she didn’t care anymore. One day, she died in her sleep. Who or what was to be blamed for her death? The answer does not come easily.