Late last week date night came in the form of a trip to Clapham Picturehouse to see Amy – the new docufilm directed by Asif Kapadia. The film, as seems always to be the case with anything about Amy Winehouse, has caused a stir.
Prone to falling asleep during films I was worried that the same would happen again, especially seeing as I already knew the ending and how the story went (or so I thought). I needn’t have worried – Amy was the most gripping view. I have never watched something quite so intently and have never felt quite so involved in a film. This is where I think the success of the film lies- the very fact that there is a feeling of intense involvement, one that makes you feel that you are with Amy every step of the way. With much of the film consisting of home-footage, unseen images of Amy’s personal life and answer phone messages left on friends’ phones it creates a sense that you are watching the life of a close friend unravelling before your very eyes, not of a stranger who we actually only knew through a paparazzi lens. Drawing you in with such intimate footage and such honest commentary, the result is an intense feeling of familiarity, attachment, empathy, and closeness that makes the tragic story even more heart-wrenching.
The film tracks Amy’s life in chronology, through both the bad times and the good times (these did exist too, some of which were laugh-out-loud funny thanks to her quick wit and killer sense of humour). It was common knowledge thanks to immense media attention that Amy was a troubled soul, but listening to her friends, manager, lovers and family gives an even truer (and much more painful) view of a heart-breaking reality. We thought we knew her, we thought we knew what was going on thanks to ‘tell-all’ stories and intrusive pictures surfacing online, but this was merely a scratch on the surface.
Whether you were a fan of Amy’s or not this film is utterly unmissable- a story of love, tragedy, greed, betrayal and friendship, and one which will stir feelings of sadness in even the toughest of viewers. Perhaps as true testimony to her talent is that you will also find yourself singing her genius (and in hindsight incredibly poetic and poignant) lyrics for days after. You’ll never listen to an Amy Winehouse track again in the same way, period.