It is said that only whom the gods love die young, then like the rest of us the gods must have found the wee waif of a young girl lovable despite all her failings and addictions. You must remember that generally most are born without addictions and failing, so how comes that so many young musical geniuses die prematurely and at the height of their fame, with what would appear to be everything to live for – or do they. We all need someone to love us but not those that say they love us and deliberately lead us down the rocky road to desperation and misery. Amy Jade Winehouse had two such people, firstly her father, who seems to relish in her fame and fortune after abandoning a nine year old Amy and her mother in 1992, and the man she married Blake Fielder-Civil, a grammar school drop out and drug addict who it’s alleged introduced her to crack cocaine and heroin. What I’m trying to say is people, excluding those who are tutored into the life of adulation and money, can easily go astray without the correct type of guidance and nurturing and end up on a mortuary slab at the age of 27 with traces of needle marks and with a death certificate giving the course as alcohol poisoning.
Asif Kapadia, who you may remember was responsible for the award winning 2010 documentary Senna, about the Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, has now directed what has become the highest grossing documentary of all time in the UK. Amy (2015) depicts the life and death of singer songwriter Amy Winehouse whose fame was only too apparent to fans of good jazz based music after only releasing two studio albums, Frank (2005) which reached number 3 in the UK album charts and the master class that was Back to Black (2006) which proved even more successful reaching number 1 in not only in the UK but in 7 other countries and number 2 in the USA. Listening to her, as I do very often, you can appreciate the description of a once in a lifetime talent when referring to her music but the problem was not just the two arseholes I described in my first paragraph but also the burden of relentless and invasive media attention focussed not on her obvious talent but on her private life which did without doubt unravelled due to her lifestyle.
As critics have said the documentary is vibrant, haunting and poignant but sadness cannot be hidden behind fame and money. Her life was full of unhappiness; its obvious from Kapadia’s movie that she was underlying scared of her success, her cockiness was just a front, vulnerability was never far below the surface. If only she has received the right guidance things could have been so different. Yes it is a great documentary but for a fan, a most depressing movie about the waste of a talented young life.