donderdag 27 augustus 2015

Amy, the movie

Let me fall right in with the door. I never liked a single song by Amy Winehouse, hated her voice, felt sorry for the way she looked and lived out her life and thought her thoroughly unattractive. So, now I have that of my liver and started a review in a negative way I never ever have before, let me turn my thoughts to Amy, the movie. I had never expected to go there, but when a friend said, that this was his choice, I decided to go along any way. It wasn't my first and probably not even my last choice. Why go there?

I found out a few things during the documentary film. One of them that Amy Winehouse had beautiful eyes. The Nefertiti kind of eyes or Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. Something like that. The more important part I found out about, was that Amy Winehouse had talent. Arguably more than was good for her. I had no idea. It is not that my appreciation for her music or voice has altered, I did find that this was her all the way and everything and everybody profited of that talent, taking a little bit until there was no resistance left.

This movie had the same effect on me as Oliver Stone's 'The Doors'. When is someone going to tell the lead person to stop and behave normal for a while. That they do not have to die. Nobody did so for Jim Morrison, no one did for Amy Winehouse. If either of the two would have listened to anyone, I don't know. Too many people depend on the money that comes in in huge buckets. From management, to touring directors, band members, the faulty husband and dear father himself.

There is loads of film with Amy on it. Film from before she broke big and became broken, including a famous, prophetic line: "I don't think I could handle it", about becoming a star, let alone a huge one. The director must have cheered when he found that tape. It is so clear that nothing can ever prepare a person for that change from private to totally public figure.

For the rest loads of hideous films of paparazzi following her every drunken, drugged and sober steps. After a movie like this it is time that professional restraining orders are put out on anyone in this business. Stalking seems a minor affair compared to what was going on unhampered in any way. Life is hell when it becomes as bad as this. Or the snippets of talkshow hosts, who were so proud to have the new rising star on their respective shows first and start cracking jokes, the ultimate cheap ones, about someone they would have killed for to have on the show would she have managed to step out of the quagmire of her depressions and write a new album. So incredibly low that they ought to be very much ashamed of themselves.

The spineless mother, "I was never able to stop her" and the father on his own trip to fame, giving some extra pushes into the deep end. The tour manager who became manager overall. Where were their loyalties?

Of course this is the effect the director wants us to undergo. In that Amy is a manipulative movie. Everyone is bad. Let's not forget that Amy simply lacked character to deal with it and make that third record and be the best jazz singer ever. That is sort of easy to forget in this movie. Most other artist do deal with it. All but Cliff Richard will have done some dumb things and in the end grew up. Even Keith Richards is a law abiding granddad in 2015, isn't he? Amy unfortunately did not live long enough "to learn how to live" as Tony Bennett formulated it and I'm sorry for her talent. Herself I'm not too certain about. All in this section is written on reflection, not my first impulse. That one was different.

As I said, I never had anything with Amy Winehouse, but this movie made me feel angry. A young woman, with more talent in her little toe than all around her, destroyed. By herself, that most, but with a lot of help. Especially from that little man of a husband, the hanger-on who is still alive. That made me feel angry alright.

In other words Amy is an intriguing movie that touched me and made me feel angry. It is hard to explain, but that is what it did. For those who liked the music of Amy Winehouse, there is loads of it to enjoy in the movie. It sounds good as well in the cinema. Another good feature is that there are no talking heads. Everyone interviewed was not filmed. That makes room for all the other pieces of film from Amy's life and makes Amy so much more impressive. A film to watch this one is. Despite the music.


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