Advertisement
We've partnered up with Nixers.com to offer a space where you can talk directly to Peter from Nixers.com and get an exclusive Boards.ie discount code for a free job listing. If you are recruiting or know anyone else who is please check out the forum here.
If you have a new account but can't post, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help to verify your email address. Thanks :)

Amy - Asif Kapadia's (Senna) Amy Winehouse biopic

  • 01-07-2015 10:09pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 140 ✭✭ DrFloppy


    Saw this at a special screening in IFI last night. Not an Amy Winehouse fan particularly although I did appreciate her amazing voice and some of her better work. Cannot recommend this highly enough. Absolutely amazing documentary. I defy anyone not to be a blubbering wreck by the end of it.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,216 Looper007


    DrFloppy wrote: »
    Saw this at a special screening in IFI last night. Not an Amy Winehouse fan particularly although I did appreciate her amazing voice and some of her better work. Cannot recommend this highly enough. Absolutely amazing documentary. I defy anyone not to be a blubbering wreck by the end of it.

    It's been getting rave reviews and Senna is one of the best documentaries ever made heading to see it myself next week. Back to Black is one of the best Albums of the last 20 years imo. You kind of get the feeling she wasn't suited to the world of fame and celebrity and it would have been better if Back to Black wasn't such a big hit for he own sanity. Plus the fact she fell head over heels in love and married a Drug user certainly didn't help.


    Her family have totally disowned it cause they don't come out of it very well (especially her father, although some of things he did were a little dodgy and he was obviously more in love with fame then his daughter was) maybe it was too close to the bone for them and made them not like what they saw. It's amazing that Asif Kapadia pulled this off cause during the Back To Black era she didn't do any interviews on camera (I think most of the footage is from before her Debut album Frank and during that time).


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,993 ✭✭✭✭ adox


    Really looking forward to this for two reasons.

    Loved the Senna documentary and loved Winehouse.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,518 CMod ✭✭✭✭ spurious


    Went to see it yesterday. Terribly sad - what a waste. Some great footage of her singing, but as in reality, it was like watching a car crash happen.


  • Registered Users Posts: 515 ✭✭✭ Telecaster58


    I thought this was an excellent documentary and a fine companion piece to Senna. This director really does know how to compile footage in a great way.
    Two people come out of this really badly. The first is her ex-husband, a preening narcissist who used this girl as a meal ticket. An egregious individual who will no doubt end up overdosed in some alleyway. No-one will mourn his passing.
    The second is her father. He cooperated with the film makers and is allegedly annoyed at the final result. Says more about him really. He can have very litle to complain about. Apart from showing himself up as a wannabee he was effectively condemned by his own daughter over a period of years. I have zero sympathy for the predicament he finds himself in.
    This film is a definite award winner and should make up for Senna being overlooked for the Oscars.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,063 Greenmachine


    Really good documentary. We had an idea of the tragedy that followed her. A real reminder how vulgar the media can be to celebs in crisis, all after their pound of flesh. Seems the worst things were going for her in her personal life, the more people wanted the inside scoop. Shame on her dad, denying she needed rehab at the earlier opportunity that presented itself.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 499 ✭✭ Aimeee


    Can anyone advise if this movie is being shown nationwide or just in Dublin/larger cinemas please?
    Thanks


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,020 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate


    **** tabloids and celebrity magazines. That was my big takeaway. Those camera flashes land like punches for the viewer, so one can only imagine what they felt like for their actual target. Amy serves as a devastating critique of the toxicity and emptiness of 'celebrity culture', and how preying on a vulnerable target only amplifies that vulnerability. These aren't new themes, nor should they come as much surprise to anybody who has taken the time to critically consume their media. But damn if it isn't a vivid, dispiriting reminder of the real life effects of what ends up on those glossy pages and red tops.

    Structurally and formally this is clearly of the same mould as Senna, which is both impressive and somewhat limited. Asif Kapadia's allegiance to archive footage is an admirable and confident stylistic choice, if perhaps imposing a few unavoidable restrictions in the process. The straight biopic structure isn't my favourite approach to documentary filmmaking (can feel a bit like reading a Wikipedia article), but Winehouse's story was certainly a compelling, emotionally potent one and that's captured well here. The film is at its best when enhancing our appreciation of Amy and her music, such as the scene in the recording booth that is skillfully edited to ensure we get a powerful insight into the many factors that resulted in the finished song. They're the moments when the film moves beyond merely recounting the facts in chronological order, and starts digging at what made this remarkable young woman tick.

    Kapadia has a somewhat unfortunate habit of operating in terms of heroes and villains, which can at times miss the shades of grey of reality. Nonetheless much of the footage presented is repulsive and/or incredible, and there's ample evidence of the impact those around Winehouse's had on her life. It's not a subtle film - but then Amy Winehouse's didn't live a subtle life - and the thematic focuses of the film feel a bit over-egged. But it would be the rare viewer indeed who wouldn't emerge feeling angry and saddened at what was, without question, a modern day tragedy.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,518 CMod ✭✭✭✭ spurious


    Aimeee wrote: »
    Can anyone advise if this movie is being shown nationwide or just in Dublin/larger cinemas please?
    Thanks

    As of today (or this weekend) it's in Carlow, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Limerick and Louth. Not everywhere, but not just Dublin.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,464 ✭✭✭ e_e


    What a deeply sad and powerful movie.

    I can't help but wonder if it was just too soon for this documentary though. Especially with the back-half being also exclusively paparazzi footage, almost falls into the same grubby and sensationalist tabloid view that it shows in a (rightly so) negative light.


  • Registered Users Posts: 499 ✭✭ Aimeee


    spurious wrote: »
    As of today (or this weekend) it's in Carlow, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Limerick and Louth. Not everywhere, but not just Dublin.
    Excellent. Thank you for that. Will be going to see it.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 1,700 ✭✭✭ Hrududu


    I thought it was very well put together. Early on when Blake Fielder first showed up I thought that he had his own demons and felt a little bad for him. But as the film progressed my opinion changed. I think one of the commentators said he didn't want her to be clean as it would mean the gravy train would stop for him. Which is definitely how it looked from the outside.

    One of the standout moments for me was the bit where she went to record the first stuff for Back to Black and we cut to the audio of Tears Dry on Their Own. Its so easy to forget amongst all the scandal that they were brilliant songs.

    I also loved the bit where she was recording with Tony Bennett.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10 ✭✭✭ The Libertine


    It's tragic and a really excellent documentary showing how she was pushed and pulled by people with only dollar signs in their eyes and not her health or her best interests at heart. Her old friends and bodyguard are the only people who come out well.

    However I felt that all the use of paparazzi footage in the second half of the movie plays right into the very essence of what it was that killed the poor girl in the first place. Those parasites always want their pound of flesh and surely in the making of this movie they received money for their footage and in doing so only feeds the very monster that the documentary tries to cast in bad light? Didn't seem right to me. It seems that even in her death people are using her "tragicness" to make money and not just her brilliant music.

    Senna didn't have that tragic inevitability about him and fantastic and all as this documentary is there is something that doesn't sit right in me about it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 11,835 ✭✭✭✭ cloud493


    It was sad. The dad and the boyfriend/husband seem like dicks, even though there is of course two sides to every story.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,216 Looper007


    cloud493 wrote: »
    It was sad. The dad and the boyfriend/husband seem like dicks, even though there is of course two sides to every story.

    I think the Press come out of it just as bad too.

    I think it was clear as day her ex husband Blake only got back with her, to have a easy revenue to buy his drugs. He clearly got rid of her the first time with ease to get with his ex, before Rehab and Back to Black made her a mega star, he came crawling back. But the documentary clearly stated she wasn't forced into her heavy drug habit, she gladly went head first to be like him.

    I can see why her Dad doesn't like this film, he clearly didn't like what he saw. He comes out of it like a fame loving, money grabbing careless father who thought about his daughter second and her fame first. Even before watching the Documentary I always got the feeling he thought he was a big a star as his daughter. The scene when he bought the documentary crew to the island when his daughter was trying to keep a low profile and clean up, giving out to her in front of other people about not been nicer to the two fans and especially telling not to do rehab when she clearly needed help. He's not a Evil man but just a careless and selfish one. Her mother seemed like walk over when she needed to be stronger for her daughter (you could tell she had it hard with Amy's beloved grandmother) and her second manager who was her promoter first didn't come out either smelling of roses.

    Not to say Amy wasn't without her own faults, She was clearly her own worst enemy and clearly was a troubled soul, suffering from a eating disorder and depression from a early age. She could be cruel and she seemed to push away the ones she should have held closer to anyone (her first manager, her two best friends since childhood, they acted more like what her real parents should have acted) and I thought her Jamician bodyguard seemed like a good soul too.

    The performance footage was excellent, on her best days she was clearly a top performer but the last performance in Serbia was self sabotage at it's highest order. I loved the early footage filmed by her first manager Nick, and her friends. Once Blake comes onto the scene, you could sense things were going to turn dark. I didn't know she was clean of drugs for three years before her death, she did look better (aside from her last performance) then she did during her Back to Black era. I loved how nervous she was during her duet with her hero Tony Bennett and she wanted to be perfect. Clearly top artists like Bennett and Mos Def had a ton of respect for her, and I think to this day Back To Black is one of the best albums around.

    I think it's certainly one of the best documentaries made about a Musician I've seen but a deeply sad and downbeat one.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 11,835 ✭✭✭✭ cloud493


    Looper007 wrote: »
    I think the Press come out of it just as bad too.

    I think it was clear as day her ex husband Blake only got back with her, to have a easy revenue to buy his drugs. He clearly got rid of her the first time with ease to get with his ex, before Rehab and Back to Black made her a mega star, he came crawling back. But the documentary clearly stated she wasn't forced into her heavy drug habit, she gladly went head first to be like him.

    I can see why her Dad doesn't like this film, he clearly didn't like what he saw. He comes out of it like a fame loving, money grabbing careless father who thought about his daughter second and her fame first. Even before watching the Documentary I always got the feeling he thought he was a big a star as his daughter. The scene when he bought the documentary crew to the island when his daughter was trying to keep a low profile and clean up, giving out to her in front of other people about not been nicer to the two fans and especially telling not to do rehab when she clearly needed help. He's not a Evil man but just a careless and selfish one. Her mother seemed like walk over when she needed to be stronger for her daughter (you could tell she had it hard with Amy's beloved grandmother) and her second manager who was her promoter first didn't come out either smelling of roses.

    Not to say Amy wasn't without her own faults, She was clearly her own worst enemy and clearly was a troubled soul, suffering from a eating disorder and depression from a early age. She could be cruel and she seemed to push away the ones she should have held closer to anyone (her first manager, her two best friends since childhood, they acted more like what her real parents should have acted) and I thought her Jamician bodyguard seemed like a good soul too.

    The performance footage was excellent, on her best days she was clearly a top performer but the last performance in Serbia was self sabotage at it's highest order. I loved the early footage filmed by her first manager Nick, and her friends. Once Blake comes onto the scene, you could sense things were going to turn dark. I didn't know she was clean of drugs for three years before her death, she did look better (aside from her last performance) then she did during her Back to Black era. I loved how nervous she was during her duet with her hero Tony Bennett and she wanted to be perfect. Clearly top artists like Bennett and Mos Def had a ton of respect for her, and I think to this day Back To Black is one of the best albums around.

    I think it's certainly one of the best documentaries made about a Musician I've seen but a deeply sad and downbeat one.


    Her mates and the first manager come out well, it was weird how if we go by the first managers stuff, the dad actively went against her going to rehab the first time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,216 Looper007


    cloud493 wrote: »
    Her mates and the first manager come out well, it was weird how if we go by the first managers stuff, the dad actively went against her going to rehab the first time.

    The dad even mentioned in the film that he didn't think she needed it. Plus Amy mentions it in her song Rehab. So it's fact.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,706 ✭✭✭ sadie06


    I went with family to see this last night in The Lighthouse. Two of us are huge fans, the other two knew little about her apart from her hits and her much publicised downfall. We all thought it was a brilliant documentary, although maybe slightly too long.

    I have not seen Senna (it's now a priority) but I admired so much about the narrative style and editorial choices made by the director. The overwhelming sound of applause when Amy won her first big award hurt my ears a little…as I'm sure it was meant to. The flashing lightbulb footage which became irritating in its over-use…again no accident presumably.

    It was hard not to attach the 'hero' and 'villain' labels as the story unfolded, especially if you loved Amy like I did. I would add Terry Richardson to the list of utter scum that she was unlucky enough to cross paths with and I found that scene with her leech of a husband performing for the camera deeply uncomfortable.

    There was little in the story that was new to me, but to hear the desperation in the voices of her childhood friends and to know that normalcy was hers for the grasping if she only turned towards the people who had her best interests at heart was truly devastating.

    Amy's was a fragile soul and it was always going to take guidance to keep her on the straight and narrow, but having worked in the music industry myself I feel one fact was crucial to her being out of the reach of that guidance most of the time. It was mentioned that it was a terrible decision to let her promoter become her manager. I would say it was a life-ending decision. From that point on 'the show must go on' was the rule. No down time. No recovery time. Her manager/promoter was not going to let the gravy-train grind to a halt. She was not really under anyones 'care' from that point on.

    This is a wonderful documentary with some incredible footage of Amy in her prime. You always know what's coming but thankfully the ending is not drawn out. We'll never know what she would have went on to do…that's the real tragedy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,767 La_Gordy


    I saw this today and found it excellent but very disturbing. It was great to see footage of Amy with her pals and being happy before the awful turn. However, the bodybag scene was gratuitous and mourners at her funeral too. That soured my feelings towards the film because it wasn't focused on Amy herself any more, but a carcass of final media consumption.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,162 ✭✭✭ Beefy78


    I saw this at the start of the week and it has really stuck with me since. I wasn't a massive fan of her when she was alive - the headlines really took me away from her music and I found it very difficult to feel much sympathy for her when she died (I know that doesn't reflect well on me but it probably also says a lot for the celebrity culture which ended up claiming her as a victim).

    It is difficult with a documentary like this to seperate what you're seeing portrayed as fact with the narrative that the filmmaker is going for. I was surprised that Pete Doherty's role in her last 18 months wasn't even touched on, for example - I assume he was removed because the film already had its 'bad guys' in her Dad and ex-boyfriend. Nonetheless if you take what was shown at face value then you're left with a genuinely distressing story of a talented individual destroyed by a combination of her own demons and the selfishness of those around her.

    South Park did an episode a few years back about Britney Spears and the way that the press and society was determined to literally sacrifice her as it had with several talented and vulnerable young women before her. It was one of the least funny but probably most bang-on episodes that they ever produced. You look at the shots of the paparazzi making Amy's life a hell and you see it happening again. We're a sick society at times.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,993 ✭✭✭✭ adox


    There's also an excellent extended version of Arena up on YouTube which is kind of a documentary on the Irish TV programme "Other Voices" and her trip to play in that little church in Dingle. It includes the four or five songs she did, as well as plenty of interviews with her and others.

    The music is fantastic. Just her, a guitarist and a bassist.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,389 ✭✭✭ NachoBusiness


    Enjoyed this but you know, the most important aspect of any biopic, is the truth and I don't think certain aspects of this documentary were all that truthful.

    With regards to going to rehab, yes, Mitch had said he didn't think she needed to at that time, but that was 2005/2006, he was involved in all other occasions she went into rehab and went through detoxes from 2006-2011 . Why ignore all this? It's only a partial truth.

    https://twitter.com/mitchwinehouse/status/617810100015730688

    There were also other people that had a negative effect on Amy's life which were never even mentioned in the film, some quite famous people. Again, why? Seems to me that this was not an objective piece at all and was made with an agenda, which was to tell a certain story, framed from certain's people's perspective. Many of her arrests were not even touched on either and so much of Amy's own part in her downfall was almost whitewashed from her life.
    The Winehouse family would like to disassociate themselves from the forthcoming film about their much missed and beloved Amy. The documentary about her life will be released this summer and receive its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

    They feel that the film is a missed opportunity to celebrate her life and talent and that it is both misleading and contains some basic untruths. There are specific allegations made against family and management that are unfounded and unbalanced. The narrative is formed by the testimony of a narrow sample of Amy’s associates, many of whom had nothing to do with her in the last years of her life. Counter views expressed to the filmmakers did not make the final cut.

    Fundamentally, the Winehouse family believes that the film does a disservice to individuals and families suffering from the complicated affliction of addiction. By misunderstanding the condition and its treatment, the film suggests for instance that not enough was done for Amy, that her family and management pushed her into performing or did not do enough to help her.

    In reality, the filmmakers were told of a huge effort from all concerned to help Amy at all stages of her illness and their constant presence in her life throughout, as well as that of many excellent medical professionals. As many families know, addiction cannot begin to be treated properly until the individual helps themselves and there is no 'one size fits all' solution.

    Furthermore, Amy was an adult who could never be told what she could and could not do. Through their work with the Amy Winehouse Foundation, Amy’s family have met many others enduring through the same struggle that they endured and have helped hundreds of disadvantaged young people in Amy’s name. They will continue to do so and hope their work creates more understanding of a terrible illness.

    Mitch was not a perfect father, that's clear, but to suggest his role in her life (or lack of one) was in any way responsible for her downfall (which I feel the film does tbf) to me is speaking for Amy in ways in which I don't think she would have wanted or appreciated. She loved her Dad, that's clear fromso many interviews, and if anything his presence in her life (especially in her last few years) most likely kept her around longer than she would have been had he not been in her life. It's a few of the other people that were in her life that people should be focused on, not her father.

    Ultimately, alcohol, drug abuse, bulimia, certain dysfunctional individuals and the toll that these all had on Amy's body, is what was responsible for her unfortunate demise.

    As her brother stated:
    She suffered from bulimia very badly. That's not, like, a revelation – you knew just by looking at her… She would have died eventually, the way she was going, but what really killed her was the bulimia… I think that it left her weaker and more susceptible. Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger.

    Worth watching for sure, but it's only a partial, and somewhat polarized, view of Amy Winehouse's life. Not a patch on Senna.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,577 ✭✭✭✭ Aidric


    An absolute knock it out of the park documentary. I defy anyone to watch it and not end up with a heavy heart. Most celebrity deaths, rightly or wrongly, wash over me but the death of Amy Winehouse hit a nerve. She was a remarkable talent who had so much more to give.

    Kapadia deserves huge credit for meticulously retelling her life journey through the eyes of those most fit to do so. What emerged for me was that she had an inherent sadness that needed tough love to set her on a straight path. What she got was a grade a cúnt in the form of Fielder and a father who failed to recognise that his cash cow was a lost girl crying out for help.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,945 ✭✭✭ PressRun


    Old thread, but watched this recently.
    The main thing that struck me was just how few people she really had on her side towards the end of her life - from family, friends, record company, media, the general public. I can't imagine how lonely and isolating that must have been, for a very fragile, vulnerable young person. She was essentially having a nervous breakdown in full view of the world and was treated like a joke and a cash cow up to her last moment. And no one stepped in, no one put the show on hold or tried to stop what was happening to her. Nobody even thought to set aside professional obligations for a time so that she could sort out her mental and physical health.

    Overall, a damning indictment of an industry that chews up and spits out its most sensitive and talented artists when they are no longer useful cogs in the well-oiled machine. And a damning indictment of a society that will gladly consume the art created by troubled people, and then ridicule them to an early grave.
    A sickening tragedy that seemed entirely preventable.


Advertisement