Amy (2015)


Amy Review

Amy is a 2015 British documentary film about the singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. It is critically one of the best documentaries of the year and rightfully so as it is terrific.

The film follows the singer through her rise of popularity, but specifically follows her substance abuse problems leading to her death. I loved that the film chose to follow that theme in particular as it made it much more coherent. And although it somewhat lacked focus at first, it was much better as it progressed and it ended on such a powerful and incredibly heartbreaking note.

Yes, the emotion is what makes this film so superb. You feel the pain she felt and the whole second half or so is imbued with such strong feelings of sadness and regret. And the emotion wasn’t forced or too emphasized, but rather natural and I loved that about it. The ending in particular is so tragic and the whole movie has that feeling of poignancy wonderfully achieved.

Another great thing about it is how it uses the real interviews and real archival footage of Amy Winehouse herself and that made the movie all the more real and truthful. And the interviews really let you know the person and I liked her really much and found her to be so likable which made her death feel all the more tragic to me. But the music is also well chosen and I liked the inclusion of many awards ceremonies as it showed you how special she was and a true artist.

Speaking of art, the film showcases her talent, but it also shows how celebrities struggle with their fame and how all that fame isn’t worth it in the end with the constant attack from paparazzi and trash talk that they experience from so-called comedians and other celebrities. I loved that honest look at fame.

The whole film is honest which is one of its biggest strengths. It never glorifies its subject and although it showcases what a fascinating person she was and how her death was immensely tragic, it still condemns her to some degree as she alone is the most responsible for all of that. That heartfelt, but grounded in reality approach made Amy absolutely terrific to watch. It has great interviews and excellent use of music with the lyrics on screen which I also liked a lot, but it also has strong emotional intensity and superb approach and execution. And although the running time is long, it is never boring as the pacing is excellent and the film is very well edited. The dialogue is great and the tone is deft, but Asif Kapadia did a particularly great job as it is so well directed and it is above all very well edited and crafted. It is inferior in its first act and it could have been even better and should have shown more from her life, but it is mostly an excellent film that is one of the finest documentary films of this year and it deserves every praise it receives.

Amy has an inferior beginning, but it is nonetheless a terrific film that is one of the best documentaries of the year due to excellent editing and directing, superb use of music and interviews and above all the inclusion of some great themes and the approach which is incredibly heartfelt, but still honest. It is a very good film that is always heartbreaking and intriguing, but above all a great tribute to this great woman.

My Rating – 4.5

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