Feminist Film Club: Amy

feminist film club

You may be thinking what does feminism have to do with Amy Winehouse? The answer is a lot.

SUMMARY

The story of Amy Winehouse in her own words, featuring unseen archival footage and unheard tracks.

REVIEW

Like many, I was absolutely heartbroken when I heard the news about Amy Winehouse. I was also repeatedly disappointed and disgusted by the media’s treatment, so when I heard this film was getting made, I hoped it would offer a more authentic (albeit tragic) representation of Amy’s short time on this planet. And that it did.

I don’t know if Amy considered herself a feminist or not, but she definitely made the music industry better for the women who followed her. An undeniable force in a male-dominated industry, we’re treated to a ton of footage of Amy being her glorious, unapologetic self. This is only a small part of the film though; the majority is an uncomfortable but essential watch.

Amy Winehouse

WHAT DID OTHERS THINK?

avatarI felt incredibly uncomfortable watching Amy for many reasons. The main one being the ugly public voyeurism which dogged her life as a celebrity. It is a sad state of affairs when after her death, Amy is met with the empathy and understanding she so sorely needed when she was alive. However, Amy’s story is an important one and the film is essential watch.

A consistent theme throughout the film was Amy’s struggle to claim her power as a young, gifted and creative woman. The film also focuses on the various men in her life: her father, her husband Blake and her manager. These men invariably failed to help her at times of crisis and in fact were often busy taking care of their own agendas whether it was fame, money and/or drugs they were motivated by. We watch as Amy struggles to set boundaries with the men in her life. One particularly heartbreaking scene is a video recording from when Amy is in rehab with Blake and he is singing the words to her from her own song ‘Rehab’. He is pointing out the contradiction between the lyrics and where she currently is and basically trying to goad her into turning back to drugs. Amy looking weak and vulnerable barely manages to whisper “Actually I quite like it here.”

I think a lot of people can relate to some of Amy’s struggles. Society teaches women not to feel comfortable claiming a powerful status, especially not one of the magnitude Amy was dealing with. The fact that Amy didn’t get a chance to reflect on her past, in order to understand how she could empower herself as a gifted artist deeply saddens me.

In the film, the media’s treatment of Amy is thankfully shown for exactly what it really is. While I think this kind of thing can happen to both famous men and women, there is definitely a more intense level of dehumanisation female public figures suffer. Amy was constantly ridiculed during the difficult points of life, with the media viciously attacking her appearance, downplaying her addictions and brushing aside her mental health issues.

A brutal but essential watch; Amy shows the ugly side of the music industry and everything that is wrong with the way society and celebrity culture disregard women in the spotlight.

– Nicola Codner (@kenixie)
A Mixed Race Feminist Speaks

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26 Comments

  1. Amy January 4, 2016 / 11:05 am

    I thought this was a really good film that finally portrayed her in the light that the media refused to. It’s so sad and tragic what happened to Amy! x

  2. Laura Haley January 4, 2016 / 11:53 am

    I haven’t seen this yet but it’s something I really want to watch, Amy was very troubled but incredibly amazing and I too was gutted when she died.

  3. Stressed Mum January 4, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    I have not seen the film yet, but it is one I want to watch at some stage

  4. Emily January 4, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    I found Amy to be a very angering watch, partially because of the dire treatment she received from the men close to her, particularly when she was beginning to see she needed and ultimately wanted help and also because I felt that even in death, she has been used as a pawn by the director to send out a message about the behaviour of the paparazzi towards celebrities. I would have liked the film to have shed more light on her talent and her personality rather than the drug use.I totally agree with Nicola in that the dehumanisation of female public figures is more intense, the obvious comparison is to the Cobain documentary which definitely focusses more readily on him as a person rather than his downfalls.

    Love this post and the idea of a feminist film club and can’t wait to contribute to the next one!

    Emily
    http://www.thebelljarblog.com

  5. Charlie January 4, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    I’ve not seen the film but I loved Amy and plan to soon I think. Great reviews and have driven me to see it more.

  6. Tori Gabriel January 4, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    Amy was a troubled woman who needed someone to step in and help her. Sadly, no one did. In fact, the media seemed to downright bully her! I hope she’s in a better place now.

  7. serenityyou January 4, 2016 / 9:59 pm

    I haven’t seen the film yet, but I think her life was really said, like mentioned the men in her life were more focused on themselves then on Amy when she really needed it

  8. Rebecca Smith January 4, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    I haven’t seen this yet but I really want to. So sad she didn’t get the understanding until after she died 🙁

  9. Ana De-Jesus January 4, 2016 / 10:48 pm

    I haven’t seen the movie but I was a huge fan of Amy and what she stood for in life. She challenged convention and showed the world what true talent was.

  10. Nancy Laws (@chicmompreneur) January 5, 2016 / 4:48 am

    I have not seen this yet but I certainly will now because everything said was true…it almost feels like we should watch it simply to give her that, the right attention, one that is surrounded around her own feelings and thoughts, not the media

  11. Rachel January 5, 2016 / 10:22 am

    I havent seen it, but quite a few friends of mine who have made comments similar to those within the comments here about how sad it was she was misunderstood x

  12. jennalouiselloyd January 5, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    I totally want to watch this as I too loved Amy and her music. I’m very aware that I’m going to be an emotional wreck afterwards though, especially after some of the scenes that you and Nicola described!

    Jenna
    | princessparasox.wordpress.com | bloglovin’ |

    • Catstello January 5, 2016 / 5:18 pm

      I left the cinema in floods of tears. Even walking back to the car, I just couldn’t stop!

  13. Zara January 5, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    I’m kinda reluctant to see Amy, mainly because of the reviews I’ve read about how it has angered people.

    • Catstello January 5, 2016 / 5:17 pm

      I think it’s an essential view, very eye-opening even if upsetting.

  14. TheLondonMum January 5, 2016 / 5:38 pm

    I haven’t seeing yet but it’s something I’d like to see for sure. I know it’ll be hard viewing though. I find listening to her music since her death quite difficult and uncomfortable which it shouldn’t really but it evokes such an unsettling reaction from me.

  15. kacielmorgan January 5, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    I really want to see this film! I bet it will be very emotional.

  16. Nicola January 5, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    It stayed with me long after I watched it. It’s very disturbing but I think it’s an important story for women to hear.
    Nicola

  17. Tracey @ One Frazzled Mum January 6, 2016 / 10:59 am

    I haven’t gotten around to watching this yet but my heart broke for her long before she died. The reason I haven’t watched it yet I think. To me she came across as a young girl crying out for help and those she needed it from failed to give her it just interested in what what they could get from her including the press so sad in every way x

  18. Emma January 6, 2016 / 2:04 pm

    This film made me soooo upset! I totally agree with your reviews of it—and it made me feel guilty for ever having read the articles etc about her 🙁

    http://eggplantemoji.com

  19. Donah @ SweetJellyBean January 9, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    Wow I didn’t realize they made a film – I’m definitely going to watch this.

  20. Anna January 11, 2016 / 9:28 pm

    I have never seen and you definitely made me want to watch that! I love Amy and this would step closer get to know little more about her.

  21. Dean January 22, 2016 / 8:45 am

    Few things I’d like to comment,

    She wasn’t looking for power or for a powerful status, she just wanted to be a respected musician.

    Her manager? (could you be more specific? Nick or Ray?) (If you watched the film, Nick didn’t have an agenda.)

    I guess the focus of her being a woman is the most important piece in this article, innit?

    It has already been established that Blake played a major part in her demise, as with Mitch (though he fails to see how )

    Amy refused help, her doctor Christina Romete has stated this before as well as Amy’s reason/s.

Cat got your tongue?