I went to see Asif Kapadia’s movie Amy on Saturday night, a documentary about the life and death of Amy Winehouse.
The movie is well done, and tells a classic “destructive-creative” story, pretty much what you imagine Amy’s life to have been like, reading between the lines that were sold to us by the tabloids.
The movie is an indictment of those tabloids, and everyone else — comedians, gossip columnists — who seemed to take a twisted pleasure in her slow suicide.
And of those closest to her who didn’t just fail to help but exacerbated her self-laceration. The husband who was afraid his drugs supply would dry up if she got clean. The father who took advantage of her and who no, didn’t think she needed to go to rehab.
These are ranged against the friends who cared, but could do nothing stand by, helpless, while Amy pressed the self-destruct button over and over until finally, it killed her.
The highlight of the film, for me, was seeing her recording with her idol, Tony Bennett. I loved her open-hearted admiration of him. Like all talented creatives, she was a superfan. She knew she stood on the shoulders of giants.
The best line in the movie also belongs to Bennett. Regretting that Amy hadn’t managed to hang on longer, he said, “If you live long enough, life teaches you how to live it.”
You don’t have to be perfect, you’re sure to make mistakes, you may be going through torture — but hang on in there. Keep on surviving and one day you discover you’ve learned how to create a life.