Watching the documentary Amy reminded me how much time has passed since Amy Winehouse left us. Remember Amy Winehouse? For me she symbolized this golden moment in celebrity gossip culture where there was always something funny happening in the tabloids. In fact, the first time I heard her song “Rehab” was when it was posted on Perez Hilton’s website. At any rate, I like millions of others tuned in when Britney shaved her head, Lindsay Lohan was running people over, and there wasn’t a Kardashian in sight.
Then we would cut to the stories of Amy Winehouse with her mangled rat’s nest of a hairdo and bloody ballet slippers—she seemed to be Queen of the Tabloid Disaster. I remember thinking on multiple occasions, “What is going on with this woman?” when we’d see pictures of her falling out of a taxi or in the same bikini for 6 months in a row in St. Lucia.
I think this documentary reminds you of what a talent Amy Winehouse actually was, and that her amazing voice was often overshadowed and ultimately destroyed by her drug-addled misadventures. What struck me was it comes across extremely clearly who the bad guys in her world were. For example, her sycophantic father that abandoned her during her childhood, and only comes back into the picture when Amy becomes enormously famous and wealthy. He was the one who famously said that she didn’t need to go to rehab. Then you have the ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil that enabled her. Blake looked exceptionally vile, because it was obvious that she took a turn for the worse when she met him and her descent into heavy drug use is accelerated. He dumped Amy for another girl which in turn was the inspiration for the Grammy-nabbing Back to Black album. Appallingly, he is immediately back on her arm once Amy hits big and the endless Winehouse gravy train assures him a steady supply of heroin and crack.
Finally, the documentary questions what role we had in her downfall and death, as multiple haunting scenes show the paparazzi wolfpack pushing and jostling a frail Amy down streets and corridors vying to get an image that will satiate our own endless appetite for tabloids and celebrity. Amy was a vulnerable soul and left too soon, but the documentary “Amy” is a remarkable record of her beautiful, strange and ultimately tragic time on earth.