Movie Review: Amy

By Alexa Smith, Staff Writer

[On the Corner Films; 2015]

Rating: 4/5

A disheartening record of a jazz musician’s rare talent and full life, up until their tragic, untimely end.

Hold up. This sounds familiar, predestined, cliché even. The tale of a rebellious childhood, daddy issues caused by divorce, discovery and accelerated fame, then unwanted fame, finally the scumbag boyfriend-turned-husband who led her to a life of drugs and ultimately her death... This has all been heard before, but this time it was hard to watch.

Substance abuse was the ultimate cause of Amy Winehouse’s death. But honestly, one has to wonder if it was fame that was more toxic and suffocating than drugs.

The biographical motion picture Amy did an exceptional job of creating a connection between the viewer and those who loved Amy the most--her closest friends--those who watched, unable to help, as Winehouse slowly killed herself. These friends later offered their memories to the construction of this film.

The transfer of emotional attachment is ever-present when the testimonials are given. You smile when they smile, remembering Winehouse’s uncanny ability to make someone feel so important, then so unimportant. You tear up when they weep about watching her self-destruct. It’s the shared emotion between the viewer and commentators that produces a momentary friendship with the musician and an undeserved guilt that she’s no longer here.

Director Asif Kapadia was gifted with a special collection of personal footage of Amy--in her youth, at her worst and everywhere in between. It’s these little windows into the Amy known by only a select few that make the story so beautiful and so very real. Through many things--like the way she smiles, the tone of her charming English voice, the words she uses when leaving a (never deleted) telephone message, her disposition when faced with a challenging situation and her lyrics, dramatically (albeit stupidly) fading across the screen--you can sense her attitude and ferocity.

Amy is a movement of memories, thoughts and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. The ending would come, and you knew what that ending would be, but there is nothing that could be done to prevent it--on the screen and on that day in her infamous 27th year.

#review #moviereview #amy #amywinehouse #alexasmith

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