Amy : the girl behind the name is the 2015 acclaimed documentary film about the short and tragic career of the British singer Amy Winehouse. This superbly researched movie closely tracks her life, from the beautiful, outgoing teenager with the amazing “old” Jazz voice and creative mind, to the pitiful, broken-down hag she became in just a few years.
This film was created by the same team who created the amazing documentary Senna, and watching Amy is like watching a fatal car-crash in slow motion. It’s a brilliant piece of fly on the wall doco making, but I won’t ever repeat the experience of watching it. Why? Because it’s just too tragic; sitting through Amy is too much like being one of those mouth-breathing voyeurs who gather at the aforementioned car crashes. What really got to me was this poor girl’s appalling choices in men…what arrogant, self-aggrandizing leeches they were…her father included.
And of course the low-life media and paparazzi, scenting blood in the water, swarmed all over her like judgemental, hypocritical sharks. Cameras whirring and flashing, calling out “cheer up Amy!,” they finished her off nicely, for fun and profit. None of her true friends were able to stop this awful process, and their distress is palpable.
The film lays this whole process out in front of the viewer in all its appalling detail. Amy is horrifying and moving, an intense study in the complete disintegration of a warm-hearted, intelligent, talented young woman. Not for the faint-hearted.
Reviewed by Keith Smith
Addendum: although never a fan of Amy’s music, because of Keith’s review I also watched this film. I found it especially poignant because in footage from her early days, several times she said she never wanted to be famous because she didn’t think she could handle it. Whether you are a jazz or Amy fan or not, I recommend this film anyway. Make’s perfect sense of other artists’ decisions to protect their privacy (for example, Sia, with her face obscuring wigs). – Natalie