Whether or not your were familiar with the bright-burning career, or tragic loss, of adored singer Amy Winehouse, even the most stoic viewer can expect to be moved to tears by her troubled story. Senna director Asif Kapadia continues his streak of selecting subjects that are both enchanting and complicated. Amy is exquisitely executed, but the smiles are few and far between as a sense of dread hangs over every rare clip of Winehouse enjoying what seemed on the surface to be a charmed life. What we learn is that the odds were heavily stacked against her, with ever-present struggles with bulimia, neurosis, insecurity, along with her widely reported battle with addiction. On top of that, a few of the figures that should have been the most supportive, her father Mitchell Winehouse and husband Blake Field-Civil, are revealed to be propagators of her pain. While it’s not at all pleasurable to witness the promising young star’s spiral, Kapadia’s presentation of the effects celebrity has on young stars in this macabre masterpiece you can’t look away from.
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