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Amy [DVD + Digital]
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From BAFTA award--winning director Asif Kapadia (SENNA), AMY is the incredible story of six--time Grammy(R) award winner Amy Winehouse - in her own words. Featuring extensive never-before-seen archival footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving, and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can.
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I have a few criticisms of the film but not enough to reduce my 5 star rating. Asif Kapadia (director) and his team have done a beautiful thing for Amy with this film. Finally people will know she wasn't just a low-life junkie as was portrayed by creeps like Jay Leno, who first welcomed her to his show and praised her performance, then kicked her when she was down with cheap shot jokes and finally called it a tragic loss when she passed away. Jay Leno - FU.
1st thing that I thought might have been a mistake in the film is the performances. Although they are great, I felt that there were no really electrifying performances such as something from the Eurockeennes concert in Belfort France. Kapadia seems to like the performances where Amy was accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. Amy's main stage band are only featured in the downward spiral shows, which are just short clips, but if you had ever seen her hitting her stride with the band (who are fantastic) you'd see Amy when she meant business.
2nd - as a Amy devotee, there are a lot of missing pieces. There is no mention of Amy's Brazil tour in 2011 which was a great success or the way the horrible crowd treated her in Dubai (where, to my ears, she sounded great) just before her disastrous performance in Belgrade. Did you know Amy had a brother? You wouldn't know it watching this film. Her brother (I won't mention his name) is so anti-spotlight he probably asked Kapadia not to mention him in the film. Also her BFF Kelly Osbourne is not in the film or mentioned once. Same with Dionne Bromfield, Amy's protege and Amy's last on-again off-again boyfriend movie director Reg Travis except for a couple of photos. This may add fuel to the fire to support Mitch Winehouse's claim of a "misleading" portrayal of him in the film. If any of you have seen Mitch's (don't call it a reality show) documentary "My Daughter Amy" you will see that Mitch does not need anyone else to help him come across as a parasitic, opportunistic lime-light seeker riding on the coat tails of his daughter's fame. As for Nick, Juliette and Lauren "abandoning" her in 2008 ( a "tough love" tactic to try to get her straight}, wasn't it you Mitch who abandoned Amy when she was 9 years old, only to reappear after she got a $250,000 record contract? Come on Mitch. Mitch and Reg are making a film to set the record straight - the tentative title of the film is "Mitch." Blake Fielder-Civil gives me the hee-bee-gee-bees big time, but I think it is fair to bring up that he asked for no money in the divorce settlement which is not mentioned in the film. Don't get me wrong - I detest Blake and he was obviously a very destructive influence on Amy's life, but don't forget that the songs from the album we all love "Back To Black" are mostly about him. There is a scene in the film where Blake is pushing Amy to sing "Rehab" while they are both in the rehab facility together where Amy says "I don't mind it here" which makes you just want to strangle Blake.
Those criticisms are minor because of the impact of the film. The footage of Amy pre-fame, provided by Nick Shymansky, Juliette Ashby and Lauren Gilbert are priceless and there are many glowing moments in the film. When she won the Grammy I welled up with tears and I'm sure you will too. When Amy is recording "Body and Soul" with the legendary Tony Bennett, it's a wonderful and powerful point in the film. On the dark side, when I saw the selfies Amy took of herself in 2008 I gasped. The relentless paparazzi was terrifying. When she is going up to the stage to accept the BRIT award it puts you right there, and as Amy says "It's very scary" and it is. The last phone conversation with Juliette Ashby and the last thing she said to her bodyguard broke my heart. This really is a must-see film.
Amy was thrust into super stardom at the age of 22. No one including Amy herself knew how to deal with it. This film does not try to point the finger at anyone for her demise but you may feel a little guilty yourself after watching it. Asif Kapadia and his team have created a beautiful portrait of a overwhelmingly talented, mesmerizing, lovely young girl, who never sought fame, but was eaten alive by it. I'm hoping that this movie will give Amy the respect she deserves. Amy Winehouse - wish you were here.
Top international reviews
This is a compelling - and heartbreaking - film about a wonderful talent, and someone I would call a vulnerable lost soul who appeared to be too trusting and was unashamedly exploited by people who perhaps should have done more to protect her. It provides an insight in to her true friendships and relationships, and uncompromisingly illustrates how parasitic some people can be. There are lovely moments in this film where Amy is timid but shows her true talent, such as when she's recording with her idol, Tony Bennett; and there are raw moments that should never have happened to such a young, vulnerable, talented woman. Not an easy film to watch, but such a good one, and the documentary film makers need to be applauded for their courage in bringing this most successful film to the screen. The DVD extras are superb, and I would recommend this film to all true film fans, and old and soon to be new fans of Amy.
A tragic story about an incredibly talented, but very flawed person.
Loved hearing from Nick Shymansky and her school friends, her family and friends. Asif Kapadia gained the trust of them all and did them and most importantly Amy justice. Asif also made 'Senna' which is brilliant.