Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Movie Review - Amy

Amy, is the story of Amy Whinehouse, a prime example of talent we lost way too early. Yes, we all read the tabloids about her personal issues with drugs and alcohol and how her family and friends tried to save her to no avail. And, how after her premature death her the family released a statement in which they talked about the gaping hole she left. Then the family gave Asif Kapadia, the director, their backing when he approached them about making a film on her life. After all, they were impressed with his earlier film "Selena".

What they discounted was that Kapadia was going to tell her life story - the good, the bad, and the ugly - using home movies, photographs, and often her own words.  The family were none too pleased with the final product. Yes, it showed this incredibly talented young woman with a voice that was reminiscent of Sara Vaughn and other great jazz vocalists, who was one of the most gifted female song writers of our time. 

But it also showed how her father, Mitch, who Amy stated was pretty much absent during her childhood, suddenly was there when she became successful and tried to control her success. Times when stress, drugs, and alcohol were taking a heavy toll on her, instead of cancelling dates to save her, he insisted the show go on. She worshiped her father and would do whatever he said. Any appeals from her friends for his help, went on deaf ears. She was his golden goose.

Once when it was clear she needed to go into rehab, and she needed help separate from her husband who had introduced her coke, crack, and heroin, he did not push for treatment. When she found peace on a long vacation in St. Lucia far from the stress of the public and the press, Mitch showed up with a camera crew, filming a show about himself. 

And when the downward spiral moved into warped speed there was no stopping it. It was only a matter of time. Once her derelict controlling husband was out of the way - thanks to a stint in jail and finally a divorce, her father still refused to hear Amy's silent cries for help and her friends screams to save her. It was just a matter of time.

The film tells the tragedy in a unique perspective of her rise and fall from a young girl to a successful world renown talent. The fact that there were cameras around her constantly - home movies, friends with cameras, the press, and TV clips is eerie. More haunting is her words on the screen. 

If you appreciated her talent and her music, it is well worth your time to understand the woman behind it all. It is the fateful story of  a young lady with so much talent, yet not a chance given those who only saw her as their ticket. And once she was gone, how dare you get upset that someone tells the story.

It is a film well made and 128 minutes starring all the characters as themselves.

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