Belfast Telegraph

Review: Tragic tale of wasted talent Amy Winehouse elegantly told

By Staff Reporter

With her distinctive beehive hairdo, thick eyeliner and deep, soulful vocal delivery, Amy Winehouse became a defiantly outspoken icon for a generation.

Born and raised in Southgate, north London, she drew inspiration from the music of Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Tony Bennett, and exorcised personal demons through her songwriting, encapsulating experiences of heartache, abandonment and despair in her emotionally raw lyrics.

Scarred by the separation of her parents, Winehouse concealed an eating disorder from those closest to her and sought personal oblivion in a heady cocktail of alcohol and drugs.

Her death in July 2011, at the same age as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, sparked a period of national soul-searching.

Asif Kapadia's moving documentary charts the turbulent life of the songbird, including contributions from many of her friends and family, and some of the people who worked with her, and were touched by her fragility and candour.

As it is, his elegantly composed memento mori leaves us with a deep sense of sadness and anger as we watch the singer totter towards oblivion, seemingly with no one to shepherd her away from the edge.

Four stars

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