“Life teaches you really how to live it, if you live long enough.” (Tony Bennett) As the end credits of the Oscar-nominated 2015 documentary, Amy, played out, you feel the brevity of life and question “what could have been” in not only Amy Winehouse’s short time on earth, but examine your own choices that have shaped your direction in life. Amy joined Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain in the infamous 27 Club, amazing creative artists who all self-destructed at the age of 27. The documentary captures Amy in many never seen before videos that peel back the TMZ-images we’ve grown so accustomed to seeing. She was an honest small town girl blessed with a voice that compares with the queens of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Her sudden rise and fall is vividly captured in a tender way by director, Asif Kapadia.
“RECORDING BACK TO BLACK”
The documentary opens with a fourteen year old Amy Winehouse singing with her best friend, Juliette, at a birthday party. Early on you could sense her innate timing and unique voice. After being signed to a major label, Amy’s sudden success was like a tornado that flipped her world upside down. She wasn’t hoping to be a music superstar, but it was inevitable. You could sense throughout the film, the things most important in Amy’s life was relationships, finding true love and the chance to write about her life and express these words in song. But as her career took off, the media spotlight and a poor choice in men overwhelmed her darkest fears and ignited her substance abuse problems. Watching the film, you could see comparisons to Princess Diana (paparazzi), Karen Carpenter (Bulimia), Kurt Cobain (avoiding the spotlight), and Sid and Nancy (the enabling destruction of two lives).
“TEARS DRY ON THEIR OWN”
“Amy” is an unforgettable documentary. The scenes at the end of the film with Tony Bennett ring so powerfully. Amy’s such a huge fan and always dreamed of singing with her dad’s idol. When they’re recording “Body And Soul” alone in the studio, you could sense her little girl shyness at wanting to impress him. Amy remarked at one point after not nailing a line perfectly (in her eyes), “I don’t want to waste your time”. But their chemistry was a beautiful sight to behold. Tony recognized her genius, but could sense the darkness surrounding Amy. He was the last artist to perform with her. One additional highlight in the film was witnessing Amy’s personal lyrics on songs like “Tears Dry On Their Own” and “You Always Hurt The Ones You Love” being shown on the screen as she sang about her life collapsing around her. It’s not a feel-good movie with a happy ending, but you’ll fall back in love with Amy’s music and never hear them in the same way after watching this film.
“BODY AND SOUL RECORDING SESSION”