Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Rebirth of Amy

The Grammy Award Winning documentary Amy, directed by Asif Kapadia, payed tribute to the late Amy Winehouse.  The film uncovers real life footage and personal testimonials that gave the audience a look into her life and her career as a British singer-songwriter. Her talent was prodigious and can be supported by the numerous accolades that Amy received, such as being a six time Grammy Award winner. The documentary, Amy, itself won a Grammy Award for Best Music Film. Along with her awards and her effortless talent that the film covers it also covers her struggle with substance abuse, which led to her death.

Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, and by 2012 ideas of a documentary film for Amy Winehouse were in the works. In context, what prompted the documentary was the death of Winehouse. The situation created a great story, a famous and musical genius who suddenly died at the age of 27 due to addiction.

The purpose of the film Amy was to portray the young singer-songwriter in a way that would leave the viewer with a positive impression on her. The desired effect the production crew wants to leave on the audience is to create a new found liking and understanding for Amy. It’s a call to action to inform the viewer on the negative effects of addiction such as; alcoholism, substance abuse, and eating disorders.  

The film does a great job using credible sources (Ethos) to narrate Winehouse’s life story. A whopping number of 28 people contributed heavily to the narration for the film. Credible sources such as her father, mother, manager, ex-husband, and best friend. The most credible source of them all is herself, Amy Winehouse. What makes the documentary of late Amy Winehouse so fascinating is to hear her own voice and opinion. I do believe there is great bias (Ethos) in the film because the narration is done by all people who were close to her.

The most important part of the film was the real life examples (Pathos), which really tugged at my heart. Real life video footage of Amy singing, dancing, and living her day-to-day life. The film was personable and made the viewer feel as if they knew her. The opening to the film displayed footage of a young Amy Winehouse singing with her close friends. Seeing her as a healthy and unbothered teenager and knowing her outcome was heart wrenching. Sound bites of her speaking on the phone was so clear and intimate it was as if you were currently on the other line with her. As Amy’s own music was being played in the background the film her lyrics were being strung across the screen like an open diary. The film, Amy, can be best described as an open diary and an exclusive look into her heartbreaking journey.
What kept the documentary in check was the presentation of the location and dates (Logos). Immediately when a new scene was shown a date and location would be displayed in white bolded lettering. Being from America, I had close to no idea as to which foreign location we were at without guidance in the film!  Consistency was key for Amy and helped the viewer follow along. One of the most important parts of the film that resonated with me was when a specific authoritative figure spoke (Logos), Tony Bennett. Bennett is someone Amy highly looked up to as an idol but, after she passed Bennett came out to the public speaking so highly of her.

I can come out and say that I have never been a fan of Amy Winehouse. Not because of her actions but simply because I was never introduced to her story or music. But, after watching that movie I had a complete different understanding of her. I developed a relationship with Amy through the documentary and it left me wishing she got help before passing away from alcohol poisoning. After finishing the film Amy and using the CAPP analysis I rate this movie 4.5 stars. I believe the movie loses have a star due to bias, which can cloud a viewer from truly understanding a person. Besides the .5 a star being deducted, I give it a high score because I have never experienced a documentary that left me looking at such a troubled person in such a positive light.

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