2015 Documentary Starring, Amy Winehouse Directed by, Asif Kapadia
Sometimes with people who burned as bright as Amy, it is too intense a flame ever to sustain itself. Inevitably they’re snuffed out, flames blazing highest just before they plummet suddenly down to the quick, leaving nothing but ashes and smoke in their wake. That was Amy Winehouse. She tried to hang on, really, to keep that wick of light from stuttering and eventually burning out. But in the end, there wasn’t enough there to keep her going. Isolated, alone, having alienated most of her real friends and burned just as many musical bridges, and more she remained only a commodity in some big record company’s eyes, cashing out on her notoriety while they had a chance instead of getting her the help she so desperately needed. When money is more important than people, or art or music, or even humanity, this is what happens. There were no advocates in her corner those final days, no one standing with this feisty singer now diminished to a sad and frightened little bird. She had already fallen from the tree, her broken wing flailing at her side as she struggled valiantly to get up again while everyone around her, gawking like vultures, silently watch her futile efforts, except to ridicule, until eventually the flapping slowed, then stopped, went limp and faded away.
One could argue she was too broken before fame to have ever survived it, and maybe that’s true, even if she’d received the help she needed when it mattered most. Certainly, the seeds of damage had been planted long ago. From her distant mother and absent father who had left Amy feeling abandoned when she was young, to the inability of Amy’s mom, and others, to set any boundaries, even when she was asking for them. Both of her parent’s dismissal of her self-proclaimed bulimia, which she announces as her great new diet plan that goes unnoticed as anything serious at the time. Her years of bulimia probably what hurt her most in the end. And then came the alcohol and drug abuse, her refusal to go to treatment and permission to skip it by the one person who might have convinced her to go- her father, letting her down once again. This experience, of course, becoming the subject of her first big hit and the cornerstone to her fame, even more ironic. And then her obsessive relationship with Blake, both volatile and codependent and fueled by drugs and alcohol. Two people spiraling out of control, this was an obvious ticking time bomb. One that Blake escaped and Amy didn’t.
Such a sad story and much too short an end to a voice we miss but will always remember. Rest in peace, Amy. Hope you’re singing with the angels in heaven.