Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Amy: The Brief Existence of A Shining Star

By Jose Alberto Hermosillo

Truthful to her rebel spirit, the documentary “Amy” is a colossal piece of filmmaking. Genuinely good! A secure Oscar contender. 

“Amy” celebrates the brief life of one of the greatest voices of Jazz and Soul ever heard, Amy Winehouse. 

Her wild, sophisticated image and dazzling public fame contrast her innocence and vulnerability.

The linear documentary is candid, done with good taste, and a great respect for the late singer’s image. 

The beauty of the documentary “Amy” lies in the immense and well-assembled amount of private and public material put together by Academy Award nominee director Asif Kapadia (“Senna”).

(l) Jose A. Hermosillo, (r) Asif Kapedia ("Amy," "Senna.") LAFF, 2011.Copyright © 2015 Festival in LA.

The documentary makes a bold approach to Amy’s life, combining the fantastic and rare footage with multiple narrators (close friends, boyfriends, agents, bodyguards, a husband, and her last lover), all of them talking about their experience with the great Diva, creating a sense of multiplicity, giving a deeper meaning to the story. 

“Amy” innovates with a unique and stunning style by not having a solo narrator, giving more dimension to the character of Amy Winehouse.

Impulsive and helpless, Amy’s controversy resides in the harmful external elements that made her fall into drugs, alcohol, and malnutrition. 

Since her debut album “Frank” in 2003, her deep vocals and singing style have fluctuated between soul, blue-eyed soul, blues, jazz, and reggae. 

Copyright © 2015 Universal Music.
In 2008, she won five Grammy Awards, becoming the first female artist with the most wins in a single night, holding the Guinness World Record for being the first British female singer ever to win five Grammy Awards in one night. 

She couldn’t attend the awards ceremony in LA due to a failed drug test required by the American authorities. Instead, her level company held a private party in London.

Amy’s popularity skyrocketed when her private life became tumultuous. Paradoxically, “Rehab” was one of her biggest hits. As the documentary shows, other elements affected her enormously, such as the media turmoil, her husband in jail, her foolish parents, and some of her best friends turning their back on her. 

The paparazzi, contracts, presentations, and the pressure of her record company made her brief existence a living hell. For her, it was much to handle when you are on drugs, young, beautiful, and famous?

Copyright © 2015Universal Music

The duet with Tony Bennett, her idol and inspiration, was very important to her. During the recording, she wanted to aspire to perfection, and in her own opinion, she couldn’t perform well enough

Tony was patient, caring, and mesmerized by the powerful voice that told her: “You are the best jazz singer in the world.” 

The song “Body and Soul” is part of Bennett’s album Duets II; this was her last recording.

Copyright © 2015 Universal Music
Her presentation in Belgrade in June 2011 was a complete disaster. She couldn’t put herself together, too drunk to stand still and perform in front of a thousand disappointed attendees who booed her off the stage.

“Amy” is a pleasant biopic to watch, enjoyable from begging to end, and it
 flows majestically as a narrative feature but is a documentary.

“Amy” is mesmerizing and makes you witness the tragic life of “the little Jewish girl” from North London. 

Copyright © 2015 Universal Music
In recent years, two groundbreaking documentaries based on singers won an Oscar: “Searching for Sugar Man” on the mysterious disappearance of Sixto Rodriguez and “20 Feet from Stardom,” about the voices behind the most incredible Rock Stars.

Those precedents open the possibility for “Amy” to get the nomination and lift the statuette at the Awards ceremony 2016.
“Amy” holds the all-time box office record for a documentary in the UK, and it has taken America by storm, becoming an independent success.

Not only her fans and followers support the movie, but also people who like Jazz and Soul, others who appreciate good music, or anybody who wants to know more about what happens in an enormous singer’s short life.

We’ll miss Amy Winehouse greatly, and now we can see her and appreciate her music and personal time to our heart’s content in the accomplished documentary “Amy.” 

Copyright © 2015 Festival in LA


  1. After reading your review I feel like watching it. It sounds pretty interesting.

  2. After reading your review I feel like watching it. It sounds pretty interesting.