‘Amy’ Documentary Gives Winehouse Her Voice Back

Almost four years after her tragic death of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27, a new documentary about the talented and troubled singer Amy Winehouse is set to come out this summer and has just released its first trailer. Amy is the first documentary about the singer that has been endorsed by her family, and based on the trailer, it looks as though it will give a more nuanced portrait of her life than has been done yet. So far journalists and others seeking to understand Winehouse have only focused on her descent into drug addiction and depression or attempted to mythologize her, rather than present a realistic look at a unique artist. The teaser trailer is a haunting clip of a very young Amy talking about her aspirations and speculating about whether she thinks she’ll ever be famous.

“I don’t think I’m going to be at all famous. I don’t think I could handle it. I would probably go mad,” she says in a chillingly auspicious early interview. But the trailer promises the movie won’t only focus on her fall into that madness, with Winehouse also talking about how the lack of material she could relate to inspired her to start writing songs and how she would only write about personal experiences because otherwise she “wouldn’t be able to tell the story right.”

The trailer also teases tons of early, unseen footage of Winehouse, from her childhood to the beginning of her career, which was obtained through the cooperation with her family. We’ve all seen the paparazzi photos and videos of a strung-out Winehouse using various drugs, stumbling down the street in stages of undress, and stubbing those bloody ballet slippers into the pavement, as those images were splashed across the trashiest magazines and websites.

Those images were already horrific and distasteful to take and to look at, and we certainly don’t need them in the wake of her death. The material about her rise to fame, her artistic influences, and her writing process is what has been swept under the rug as the media glorified her tragic demise. But that stuff is what’s really interesting about Winehouse. After all, if she hadn’t been a hugely talented singer-songwriter, then no one would’ve ever heard of her to know about her struggles with love and drugs.

Amy comes from the award-winning filmmakers of Senna, a documentary about the late Brazilian Formula 1 racer Ayrton Senna. Deadline says that the movie will feature “extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks” to allow Winehouse to tell her story in her own words. This is a brilliant move for the filmmakers to make, as Winehouse wasn’t allowed to explain herself much before she died. Those drugged-up moments and court dates and trouble seemed to do all the talking for her.

“The award-winning producers of Senna presented a vision that would look at Amy’s story sensitively, honestly and without sensationalising her,” a statement from Winehouse’s family said, per CNN. “We want this to be a tribute to her musical legacy.”‘ Fans of Winehouse the musician — not Winehouse the party animal, Winehouse the tragic lover, or Winehouse of the “27 Club” of rock stars who all died at age 27 — should look forward to a sensitive portrayal of the singer-songwriter. Amy is set to come out this summer. It doesn’t yet have a firm U.S. release date, but it will likely be scheduled to correspond with the four-year anniversary of her death, July 23.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

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