Watching Amy (finally) on DVD was a mistake since the menu instantly began playing “Tears Dry on Their Own” and it was a warning of waterworks before the movie itself even started. I’m by no means a diehard Amy Winehouse fan, but I did love her music and was devastated to hear of her passing in 2011. Sometimes I’ll hear a song of hers in a store or someone will butcher “Valerie” at karaoke, and I can’t help but become bummed by the idea that no new music from Winehouse will ever be produced. And that’s what Amy does, reminds viewers of the immense talent and potential of a young musician.
With scenes from 1998 to 2011, we get to glimpse into Winehouse’s life thanks to previously unseen footage and unheard recordings, and considering so much of Winehouse’s demise came from the pressure of her audience, watching an entire film about her can seem brutally ironic, though its a message worth hearing. I happened to watch Amy the week Adele’s long-awaited 25 was released. In her first interview in years, Adele mentioned watching Amy and being moved by seeing a peer “perform” again. Though different, the similarities between the two artists are undoubtedly there. As Adele currently skyrockets to an astonishing fame at 27 years old, we grieve an artist who rose and fell so quickly, and publicly, in her own 27th year.
The film is raw and gritty and somehow manages to protect Winehouse while simultaneously showing a grisly downfall. No punches are held, including those thrown at her family and friends, particularly her father. The home videos make you feel as if you knew Winehouse but the soaring shots of London reminded me that she was one of millions, and who knows which talented person we could lose next? Amy should serve as a lesson so that history doesn’t repeat itself.