Sunday, January 10, 2016

Amy (2015) - 8 stars out of 10

Amy (2015) - 8 stars out of 10

“Amy” explores the life and career of Amy Winehouse with a focus on her drug and alcohol addictions.   The narrative is interspersed with long musical sequences of the songs that were relevant during specific life events.  It is almost as if the film explores Amy's life through the lens of her music, one song at a time.  It isn't as compelling as a documentary like "Man on Wire" (which reads like a thriller), but if you love the music of Amy Winehouse, you will love this film.  Her voice was 100% unique and this was a tragic loss for the music industry.  They could have played "Rehab" about 5 more times and that would've been fine by me (not sarcastic).  When you watch this, you must be prepared for strong language.  Winehouse was never known to be a gentle speaker and there are plenty of f-words to drive the point home.  Then again, what do you expect from the story that is mostly drugs, alcohol, and eventually death?  One of the saddest moments of the film occurs when Amy has just won the Grammy for Record of the Year (along with 4 other Grammys) and she shares with a friend that the moment is boring without drugs.  It is tough to watch the gifted musician’s career slowly collapse from drug and alcohol abuse, but I find the shots of the paparazzi harassing her to be even more disturbing.  These are the sort of things that cause a celebrity to lose any sense of normalcy and get pushed over the edge.  I pray that this documentary and Winehouse's story can be a wake-up call to some about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.  It has its high points, like her acoustic audition at Island Records in 2003 and the recording of “Body and Soul” with Tony Bennett, who was one of her idols.  But if you watch this film, be prepared for the majority of its two-hour runtime to be a sad fight against addiction.  “Amy” will likely win the Oscar for Best Documentary but that won’t make it any easier to watch.  The loss of Amy Winehouse was tragic, unnecessary, and way too early.

[Pictured: Winehouse's glamorous looks did not always line up with her chaotic lifestyle]

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