AMY: The Girl Behind The Name

23rd July marks the day we lost one of the most beautiful jazz singers to grace this earth- Amy Winehouse. She was inspired by the likes of Billie Holiday and Tony Bennett and this led to something we have never really heard in the music industry before her. Yesterday, I went to see the film AMY: The Girl Behind The Name. To say the film opened my eyes would be an understatement.

The film is presented in such a personal intimate light, as you see first hand the life she led beyond the media persona. It saddened me how only till now the world can see how hard her life was and how she couldn’t cope with the level of fame her talent led to. The film showed the peaks of her career and her darkest days, making it a real roller coster journey, as cliche as that may sound. I have personally always been a fan of Amy Winehouse, as I am a big lover of jazz and I loved her work with the likes of Tony Bennett and her covers of various jazz phenomenons, but I never realised the extent to which she suffered with her demons and depression until now, which is the saddest thing of it all as I don’t think anyone really did, not even herself fully.

The documentary starts with an innocent girl at 13, all bright eyed and singing for the love of it. As she grows older she reveals how she never really viewed singing as a career, however through media interest and promoting pressures, it all spiralled out of control and she was out of her depth. I originally went into the cinema thinking I would hate her ex husband Blake, as he seemed to be the drug pressure on her for many years.

Despite this, the film shows how they were just as troubled as the other an they would constantly want to be on the same level as each other, no matter what the stakes were. What surprised me was her father figure and his influence on herself and her decisions. When the rest of her friends and family were telling her to sign herself in to rehab, her dad refused and said she was fine, hence the lyric in the hit single Rehab, ‘my daddy said I’m fine.’

Further, whilst relaxing and improving her health and getting over a severe eating disorder that has taunted her since early childhood, she wanted some family company and invited her father over. However, he arrived with a full TV crew and documented what he termed ‘his’ life, although it was basically just another media route to Amy. This saddened me and just reiterated the fact that family and a strong support network behind you is so crucial. I was lost for words after watching the documentary and can’t believe that we have lost such a beautiful soul and amazing artist. Every piece of music she made was so raw and emotive and conveyed something so relatable to her complicated life.

I can’t explain how much I recommend this film. It’s the best film I have been to see in a long time and I have been thinking of it constantly ever since I walked out the cinema, a must see!!

Amy Winehouse in publicity photo for Back to Black in 2006. Photo credit: stereo gum.
Amy Winehouse in publicity photo for Back to Black in 2006. Photo credit: stereo gum.

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