Amy Screen 21 articles



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  • Disappointingly, puffed-up melodrama is something that Asif Kapadia – despite his immense storytelling skill – adds to rather than pierces with his engrossing but somewhat pointless exercise in retracing the high and lowlights of a public figure already bogged down in hyperbolic projections.

  • The voyeurism that Kapadia managed to evade with Senna becomes inescapable inAmy, with the story having the added weakness of feeling warmed-over thanks to Winehouse’s extensive media exposure while her travails were unfolding. Her exploitation and heartbreak—saddled with a lover and a father who contribute to her destruction in different ways—are shattering, but Kapadia’s protracted run-down isn’t insightful enough to avoid the appearance of rubbernecking.

  • Through careful, involving editing, Kapadia's assemblage presents an intimate view of a brilliant performer, a naturally engaging and immediately recognizable musical presence, who was destroyed by the men in her life.

  • The documentary becomes progressively more difficult to watch as Ms. Winehouse falls apart and as its intimacy, which earlier felt nice and cozily warm, starts to feel uncomfortably intrusive. This discomfort is crucial to the movie’s complexity and is why it works as somewhat of an ethical and intellectual provocation.

  • The results are less illuminating [than with Kapadia's previous film], in part because Winehouse's sad demise recalls that of so many other doomed young stars. Winehouse's struggles with bulimia and depression are introduced like plot twists midway through the film, which feels a bit sensationalistic, but Kapadia and King provide some worthy insights about the damaging effects of celebrity on psychologically fragile individuals. And the music is fantastic.

  • The film is as much a celebration as an elegy, and while much of the footage included is low-definition (to put it mildly), Winehouse’s performances and songwriting craft, as showcased here, make a strong case for her legacy.

  • The most touching line in Amy is spoken, as a kind of elegy, by Tony Bennett, the 88-year-old crooner who’s become a kind of talisman, and once recorded a duet with Winehouse. “Life teaches you how to live it,” he points out. “You just have to live long enough”. In the end, she was just too young.

  • Kapadia has no immediately new argument to make, no revelations to put forth. It is as impressionistically ghostly as Senna, Kapadia’s previous documentary, another footage-and-disembodied-audio treatment of the race car champion Ayrton Senna. And it loosens anew Winehouse’s smoldering, old-soul artistry.

  • Even in its most despairing stretches, it’s the music that gives “Amy” air: While Kapadia includes sequences from shambolic concerts performed at the singer’s lowest ebb, there are as many a spellbinding instances of her voice emerging robustly from internal chaos.

  • Kapadia’s film is many things: a Sherlockian reconstruction of Winehouse’s arcing path across the skies of superstardom, a commemoration of her colossal talent, and a moving tribute to a brilliant, witty, vivacious young woman gone far too soon. But above all, it’s a perceptive examination of the singer’s need for love – from her friends, family, colleagues, husband and public – and the ways in which that need went unmet, or was exploited, at the times it ached in her the most.

  • If the Competition was down to, say, my own taste, rather than the politically complex decision of a selection panel, then films from other sections, like Amy, Asif Kapadia’s wonderfully constructed bio-doc of the tragic singer Amy Winehouse, would certainly be there (documentaries are usually excluded).

  • More unexpected fare came from Asif Kapadia’s documentary on Amy Winehouse, which, with its remarkable access to her home video footage, has the merit of drawing a great deal of sympathy for a singer whose drug use had become a late-night talk-show punchline until her seemingly-inevitable death at age 27.

  • Even if the last third of Amy is painful to watch, Kapadia takes care not to lose sight of the human being behind the mythology. In the beginning, she was just a Jewish girl from North London, with a bawdy sense of humor and a voice that carried hints, like subtle notes of perfume, of the singers who'd come before her. In the end, she was both ravaged and radiant, but Amy focuses mostly on the latter.

  • Being raised to the level of a god often does the artist a disservice, leeching them of their humanity, hollowing them out by making them easy sells. Not so Asif Kapadia’s wrenching documentary about the late singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse... [Her] frequent pain is inseparable from the pleasure of Winehouse’s art—a troubling notion that Kapadia’s film forces us to ponder and reflect.

  • This is a film about ‘the voice’ augmented by the word, but it’s also about the image, and Kapadia makes powerful use of still photography, whether pictures stolen by the paparazzi, studio portraits, snapshots or selfies. The presence of so many little-known images indicates the sheer number of pictures taken of Amy; we see the child become a young woman (“Stop filming my spots!” she complains to a friend), then an icon and increasingly a caricature of her own stylised image.

  • Arguments will no doubt continue to rage, especially in the singer’s family and professional circles, about whether or not Kapadia is distorting or selectively representing the facts. But one way or another, Amy comes across as an intelligent, empathetic, and very moving account of a formidable talent and a radiantly original personality, however damaged.

  • Kapadia counters the downer tone with lots of shots of [Winehouse] writing music, the camera moving into extreme close-up to superimpose her face on the page. He discovered how to penetrate her unique complexity. “The answer is in the lyrics,” the Indian-English filmmaker told Kaleem Aftab of The Independent, adding thatAmy is his Bollywood moment, a movie in which song lyrics are key.

  • As he showed with Senna, filmmaker Asif Kapadia is a master of the modern tragic narrative, and his documentary Amy fulfills the form. Pity, terror, and, rather than catharsis, heartbreaking loss: The film limns Winehouse’s short, brilliantly creative life and overdetermined death in 2011 at age twenty-seven. You very well may obsessively limn the film after it’s over, feeling guilty about every death in your life that, just maybe, you could have prevented, if only…. Amy hits home.

  • Amy is a biographical documentary of the singer Amy Winehouse, but it is also a horror film. Watching it is like watching a ghost, a confused, tortured ghost of a woman who has boundless talent in singing and none in living... This is one of the best documentary films this year, and in some parts it's also one of the hardest to watch.

  • Amy is surprisingly shattering -- you know what happens -- but as a tale told by edited existing footage when that is now entirely possible – you feel almost part of her story... Amy Winehouse has had a camera in her face since 16, so watching a decade of her life ascend and then smash to pieces puts us in the story that builds almost into a horror movie. You want to reach in and grab her out of there.

  • Asif Kapadia and Sean Baker are responsible for two of the past year’s most innovative movies, “Amy” and “Tangerine.” Mr. Kapadia’s “Amy” uses extensive amateur video footage culled from a range of sources to create a painfully candid account of the British singer Amy Winehouse’s rise and fall

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