Winehouse, known for hits like “Rehab” and “Back to Black“, was seen as one of the most talented musicians of her generation. “Before I thought she may have been a bit of an attention seeker, but now I do not think she was at all”. That is until narration by Juliette Ashby, one of Winehouse’s closest childhood friends, heartbreakingly reveals that she was still pining for a fix. He’s Mama June meets the anti-Christ, and we can only watch in horror as Amy continually stumbles under her misguided father’s care.
These early jazz club performances highlight what we already know of her brassy and bodied voice, but Kapadia’s onscreen lyrics, which accompany the majority of the performances we see in the film, and rare behind-the-scenes footage of Amy in the recording studio highlight her lethal power of phrase, something that is so often disguised by her cool onstage demeanor.
The film also zooms in on her relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, the man she married before he went to prison, and later divorced after admitting adultery.
Mitch Winehouse was so appalled by the film that he asked that his and his family’s name be taken off the credits. As she became famous and began drinking heavily, her management suggested a spell in rehab in 2006. Asif told InStyle he had no choice but to interview Amy’s troubled ex-husband; “you may not particularly like certain people, but you’ve got to talk to them and get to the root of the story”. And when recuperating in Saint Lucia in 2009, Mitch invited a camera crew to record footage for a documentary, which later aired on British TV.
He has since come out to defend himself saying “I don’t think I ruined her”, in an interview with The Times magazine. Janis explains that she hoped it was just a phase, but it would be something that haunted Amy for her whole life. Featuring extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can. “But there were lots of people who made decisions which, when you look at them, were probably not great for Amy at that moment in time”, added Kapadia, who also made award-winning documentary “Senna”.
“I don’t know if it’s ever possible for anyone to create a depiction of anyone’s life and make it 100% right”.
His involvement with Amy’s addictions will always be debated.
Amy is a monument erected for a mere girl who left this world far too soon, but also stands as a poignant warning for the up-and-coming talents of today. After being charged with assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice, he was jailed in ’07.