You may be thinking what does feminism have to do with Amy Winehouse? The answer is a lot.
The story of Amy Winehouse in her own words, featuring unseen archival footage and unheard tracks.
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.
WHAT DID OTHERS THINK?
I 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.
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