The new documentary Amy seeks to memorialize Amy Winehouse not as a victim but as a rare talent who was also a much-loved human. Filmmakers utilized over 100 interviews with Winehouse's family and friends in order to get a picture of the real woman behind the often-glamorized story that we're most frequently given: that of a young girl who rises to stardom only to battle with an overwhelming amount of inner demons. Through these interviews, the documentary shows Amy as a friend, lover, artist, daughter, collaborator, and fighter. Amy does in fact discuss the addictions that ultimately led to the singer's demise, but it doesn't focus on her deterioration as the most notable aspect of her life. Instead, the interview subjects paint us a vision of a deeply talented artist who was also an exemplary human being.
The film features interviews with everyone from Winehouse's parents to her managers to her hairstylists, and it also features some names that you'll probably recognize from their own musical renown. It's natural that Winehouse would have famous friends since she was so entrenched in the entertainment industry, but it's truly touching to see these musical greats speak about the singer with such reverence and admiration. Here are just a few of the many influential figures you'll see speak about Winehouse in Amy.
Yaslin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, was a friend of Winehouse's and collaborated with her on the track "Love is a Losing Game." He emphasized in an interview that people should remember Winehouse for her musical legacy as opposed to her personal demons. "She was an amazing human being with an amazing, beautiful talent," he said. "We should celebrate that instead of looking at all her blemishes."
Questlove hosted a private screening for the documentary, and has discussed how he and Amy would bicker about jazz and music. “I have this sort of know-it-all reputation for music, but she knew way, way more stuff than I did...I really haven’t met a person so immersed in their art."
Bennett recorded the duet "Body and Soul" with Winehouse, which would prove to be the 27-year-old's last recording. Bennett has said he wishes he would have made a vocal effort to try to veer Amy away from substance abuse, but that he doesn't feel that her death invalidates her legacy. "Her dream was to become famous and a beautiful singer and she accomplished that," Bennett said while attending the Amy Winehouse Foundation Inspiration Awards and Gala. "Even though she had a short life, she had a great life because she ended up praying for the success that she wanted and it happened."
Many other figures from the music industry also appear in Amy, and it makes for a genuinely meaningful film. The people therein are clearly in awe of Winehouse, and we end up experiencing vicarious admiration and respect. The documentary therefore encourages us to appreciate the brilliance of an extraordinary woman as opposed to simply mourning the fact that she is gone.