Asif Kapadia has a knack for making great documentaries about tragic figure – and they don’t come more tragic than Amy Winehouse.
Here is the thing – I find it hard to call Kapadia’s Amy great because it opened up wounds that have not yet healed. I am still angry, bitter and sad about Amy. To me, she was the single most important British female recording artist I have ever heard.
I couldn’t quite place her because it is impossible to put her in a box. She was much more than a pop star or a jazz singer – she felt so hip-hop to me. I guess that is a big part of why I loved her. It felt like she understood hip-hop culture. The realness she exuded felt akin to stuff you would find in the hip-hop world – her music was too real and too raw.
Kapadia captures this complex picture and is unflinching in exploring the good and the bad sides of Amy Winehouse. For me, it is the bad side that I found very hard to watch. It would be wrong for me to say that Amy was totally innocent in bringing about her downfall – she wasn’t, but bloody hell she was pushed to it.
It’s all well and good for me to sit here and judge people who lived that life with Amy, but this documentary rightly asks the question whether her family and loved ones could have done more to keep her healthy and, therefore, alive. I can’t see how anyone would answer positively to that question.
Overall, the documentary didn’t tell me anything new other than sprinkle context on information about Amy’s mental problems. What this film did for me was just remind me what an immense talent this woman was and that breaks my heart.
I love a lot of women artists: Ms Hill, Erykah Badu, Lady Day, Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few. Amy Winehouse absolutely deserves to be on this list. I hope this film reminds people of Amy’s talent and convinces them that, she deserves a seat at that revered table.