Category: Editor’s Pick

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“The dark covers me and I cannot run now” expresses Amy Winehouse, a lyric which hovered above her like a black cloud from the fresh-faced teen pumped with an admiration for jazz to one of the most prominent and unique stars in the music industry. Throughout Amy, director Asif Kapadia tenderly portrays how wherever she went, whatever she did, whoever she was with; Amy lived a troubled life in which her only attempt of escape was through music.

It was inevitable that this film was going to bubble with controversy. First, from her irritated father who protested that it painted him in a bad light, which thankfully it did. It is clear that he became a distant father, hungry for fame, rather than a concerned parent who was prepared to protect his daughter’s welfare. From childhood, Mitch Winehouse was constantly working, even dismissing that Amy was secretly battling with bulimia calling it a “phase”, to the start of her downward spiral into drug abuse, expressing “I felt it’s Amy’s responsibility to get herself well,” to her recovery where he dragged along a camera crew to document Winehouse attempting to get well.

Second, from Blake Fielder-Civil whose pores must have began to sweat when he realised that private footage of their controversial relationship would be leaked to the public. Personally, I have always been infatuated by pictures of the couple were dried blood stains their faces, ripped clothes hang from their skinny figures and bandages pathetically attempt to cover the evidence of the destructive night before. The film revealed how Amy always wanted to feel exactly how Blake felt, from small actions such as mimicking him smashing a glass bottle across his wrists to her immense crack habit. She was determined to be on the same level as her husband. Even though I feel as if Blake played a huge role in her descent into drug abuse, I was glad that the film didn’t pay too much attention to their relationship as it should be used to celebrate her need for music not a man who nearly took that away from her. However, when the screen piled up with pictures of the couple, a famous quote by Charles Bukowski sprang to mind, “My dear, find what you love and let it kill you.”

A prominent moment was how Amy highlighted how the songstresses change in stamina and charisma to depression and vulnerability turned her into a target for people’s cruel jokes and lack of sympathy. One minute she was praised for her performances on programs such as The David Letterman Show then the next she is classed as “mad” by hosts such as Graham Norton. It was a heartbreaking watch to view in two short hours how a young healthy woman was transformed into a gaunt skeleton, smacking herself onstage in order to remember the words of Rehab, the song that turned her into a household name.

Even though I was surrounded in a room with fifty other people, the atmosphere felt intimate due to the director’s decision to use voice overs of Amy’s family, friends and work colleagues. One character that caused my Winehouse worthy eyeliner to drip down my face was the songwriter’s best friend Louise. Throughout Amy’s roller-coaster life she supported her during her ecstatic highs of moving into her first London apartment, achieving a record deal, marriage to the turbulent lows of overdoses, repetitive stints in rehab to their last phone call before she died. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, can we meet up tomorrow?” pleaded Amy.

Whether it was her dysfunctional childhood, an alcoholic adolescent, a drug fuelling boyfriend or the suffocating paparazzi, Amy Winehouse died with the love of music still injected through her veins.

Have you managed to catch Amy yet in the cinema? Let us know of your thoughts in the comments!

image: official film poster.
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