I don’t often get a chance to watch documentaries, especially not at the cinema, so I was interested in getting the opportunity to see Amy on the big screen, despite the fact that I was never really a fan of Amy Winehouse’s music. She was certainly very talented, as this documentary frequently reminds the viewer, but the other well documented side of her public persona always made her, for me, difficult to be a fan of. If anything, this made me more interested in the subject matter, as it would be a chance to hopefully find out a bit more about the real Amy Winehouse, and not just the one I’d heard so much about in the media.
It’s really unfortunate that this documentary is sort of the exact opposite of that media coverage. It doesn’t completely paint her as being a saint, but it does seem to cover some of the less favourable aspects of her personality very quickly, almost skipping over them in favour of showing other, less interesting aspects of her life.
This documentary also fails to convey a real emotion, even in its closing moments, which is really a surprise as it of course has a tragic ending. The main problem here is that almost everybody apart from Amy herself is presented in a negative light, as if they were the sole cause of all of her problems, and while some of the horrible things she had to live with no doubt contributed to them, I couldn’t help but feel like it was an unfair representation of everyone involved.
All of that being said, it is a well crafted documentary. It’s well-edited, with a lot of sections shot by her and her friends, mixed with insightful interviews and concert footage. It also makes good use of her lyrics to add further depth to what was happening at any point in her life. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t really a fan of hers, or perhaps this really is exactly how everything happened, and how everyone in her life behaved, but I still can’t help but feel like this documentary was made more as a tribute to the singer, designed to paint her in a sympathetic light, rather than show all the sides of a complicated character.
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