Amy (DVD) – Documentary Review
Follow Genre: Documentary
Director: Asif Kapadia
Distributor: Cinéart
Duration: 200 minutes

Amy (DVD) – Documentary Review

Site Score
Good: Interviews with many people who were close to Amy, different kinds of footage both amateurish professional
Bad: This documentary feeds off the tragedy of Amy's life just like the media did when she was alive
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Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Amy Winehouse’s story is a tragic one, we all knew that much, and it only gets confirmed after watching this documentary. Using home recorded videos, and footage from concerts and events as well as interviews with friends and family, Asif Kapadia sketches an image of the girl behind the name.  A girl who is troubled, and struggles with the fame and all that comes with it. Early on in the documentary, Amy even says, before she got the kind of fame she never could have imagined, that if she were famous, she didn’t think she could handle it. And that says it all.


The documentary moves more or less in chronological order. There is quite some footage of Amy as a young girl, shot with a camera at home. She seemed like a happy girl but, as her mother explains, she suffered from bulimia already when she was a teenager. While still in her teens, her music got picked up, mainly because of her mature voice that fitted her jazzy, yet contemporary songs perfectly. But with growing more and more successful, she also had to fulfill certain demands. People were waiting for a new album, after her debut Frank, and she got pushed around from different corners, not being free any more in what she wanted. Her songs are all about things she’s been through, making them often sound quite raw and sad. She put her heart and soul into them, but that is not what the industry cares about most. As if the pressure wasn’t hard enough already, she still coped with bulimia, and after her marriage with Blake Fielder Civil, she also got addicted to cocaine and heroin. And celebrities off the rails, that is just what the paparazzi love…

Watching the tragedy of this young singer’s life, it makes you wonder just how powerful the media are. But even now, this documentary itself feeds off Amy’s troubled life which leaves you with mixed feelings. Nonetheless, the documentary is interesting to watch, and nicely put together. The interviews are used as voiceovers, over images shot both professionally and unprofessionally, thus enabling you to see even more original footage. This footage shows us Amy’s life on and off stage, with also plenty of time to explain the origin of certain songs, such as Back to Black. This gives quite some variation, which is welcome since the film is about two hours long.


It’s nice to see that the majority of the people who were close to Amy, such as her best friends, her parents, producers and bodyguards also take part in this documentary. Thus you get a good insight into the different aspects of her life. Of course, while this might make the film more real, it also makes things very personal and thus tinted. Then again, we will probably never be able to uncover the complete truth.

If you have been wondering why the documentary didn’t include the song Valerie, you can still get to know more about its background in the deleted scenes, together with some additional footage and comments that didn’t make it into the film, but are nonetheless more or less an extension of what is already said in the documentary. Also the unseen acoustic sessions prove to be a nice touch, as for once, you just get the music, without voiceover or other explanation, just Amy and a guitar. Other than that, the extras also include audio comments by Asif Kapadia.


The story behind the name, is the subtitle of this documentary  about Amy Winehouse, and that is indeed what you could call it. Even though we will never know everything that went on in her mind, fans get a good insight into the life of the singer, as well as an idea of why she was so troubled. For fans, this is probably a must-see. For curious minds, this documentary will unveil lots of information about Amy and her songs, making it worth your while all the same.

Amy Winehouse posed 2006

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Amy (DVD) - Documentary Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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