Friday, December 25, 2015

"Amy"

This is a remarkably good film.  It is also a frustratingly sad one.  Amy Winehouse was a down to earth, unpretentious, hyper-talented, good humored, free spirit whose addictions were too much to overcome.

Her musical virtuosity is easily evident in the film, and her ability to sing jazz in a way only done by those two generations removed demonstrates a precocious nature that could not be expected.  Her jazz voice was an extraordinary throwback.  She came onto the scene at a time when little new talent was evolving, and her sound and style opened a new path for later aspiring female singers like Lady Gaga and Adele. She mixed in her share of soul and R&B as well, and writing her own lyrics she intuitively created unique hybrid music.

Her decline was certainly due to the devious nature of addiction and the pressure of fame and obsessive fans, but was transparently enabled by an entourage of friends, entrepreneurs, and family members who lived off of her talent.  The documentary makes it abundantly clear that leading that crowd of people exploiting her were her father and her manager. The repulsive real time rationalizations by both in this film can make one gag.

When she was starting out and basically only well known in the U.K., it certainly would have been nice to have stumbled upon her first album.  My parents, especially my mother, would have adored her voice.

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