When my fabulous friend Nico, from the Chicago International Film Festival, invited me to an exclusive advance screening of AMY, I said “yes” without a second of hesitation. It was like the best invite I had ever received! I fell upon the Rehab singer back in 2007 via celebrity blogger (reformed villian), Perez Hilton, and from the moment I heard her voice, I was captivated. I was beyond excited to see this documentary by Senna’s director, Asif Kapadia, and to learn more about one of my favorite singers…ever. However, I had no idea what I was in for or how devastating her story truly is.
The film goes deep into the extremely talented and self destructive jazzy singer’s life on a very intimate and personal level. Much of AMY is video footage shot from a young age to her final year of life, taken by her close friends and family, as well as the incessant paparazzi. Which, sick or not before, the paps did nothing to help her cause or attempts to getting clean. In the film, she tells a journalist before she was even known world wide for her chart topping album, Back to Black, that she would most definitely go insane or mad if she were to reach stardom. I think it’s fair to say, that fame got the best of her.
As a huge fan, it was very refreshing to get glimpses of the witty and sassy, often crass, side of the artist. She certainly had a way with words, her lyrics alone being a huge indicator of that. She was often quite funny and well spoken in her conversations and interviews as well, which I imagine could be hard to believe based on the media coverage and paparazzi images released before her death. Of course, on the opposite side of that spectrum, there was indeed a very troubled and very sick young lady who was quite lost in a web of drug/alcohol addiction and bulimia. The enabling of Amy was absolutely appalling, even in her darkest moments she was encouraged to work. In an attempt to clean up her lifestyle, Amy headed to St. Lucia to gather herself. In lieu of supporting his daughter, Mitch Winehouse traveled to the island with a camera crew in tow to document her. It’s apparent that at times of attempted recovery or full on episodes of being strung out, her father and her manager were more concerned about her bank account than her health. To say watching her illness and destruction unfold was heartbreaking, is an understatement. Amy perhaps was one of the most talented singers of our time, unfortunately, she was just as troubled. Had Winehouse had the type of support system she needed, perhaps I’d be seeing her at a music fest this year. Sadly, that will never be the case.
During the times Amy was ok enough to perform and sing, she was completely captivating. Whether or not you are a fan of hers, AMY speaks to you. This film could also be the push someone needs to seek help. Although a devastatingly heartbreaking film, AMY was exceptionally well done and shed some light on not just what the media showed you, but her truth and some of the sincerest friendships she had and the people who fought to get her clean. Luckily for viewers and fans, we were able to see the side of Amy so many people loved about her. I am with Nico when he says he is still reeling over the film. True talent gone way too soon. #amyforever
As I mentioned earlier, I was invited to the screening, but I didn’t realize until Nico and I chatted the next day as to why I was able to see the film before the release date, July 10. This advanced screening was strictly for members of the Chicago International Film Festival. Now, I can’t keep hoping Nico keeps asking me to be a guest to see films ahead of time, so I have no choice but to sign The Mister Project and myself up for a membership. This choice, being an awesome one. There are obviously tons of perks to being a member; advanced free screenings, film events, special invites, discounts on merchandise, Q&A panels and advanced ticket pre-sale for the film festival, plus so much more. Now, if you’re a movie lover like myself and love going to the movies (even by yourself sometimes), then I would seriously consider a yearly membership. The annual rate goes up as of August 1, so if you’re thinking about it, sign up at the $75 fee (not bad at all) before they turn it up to $80 a year. I’m not going to lie, I felt really lucky to see AMY before the rest of the world. I’m not a very luxurious, VIP type of person, but when it comes to an advanced screening of a documentary, I’ll take it!!! I can’t wait for more! And TMP is all about it as well. PS. A membership would make an AWESOME gift….hint, hint.
Anthony and I have been eager to join a non-profit organization for a while now and this one seems to suit us perfectly. So, even while we are enjoying some flicks and the film culture in Chicago, we’re also helping support year round educational and community programs. It’s a win, win! Check out The Chicago International Film Festival’s website for more information on memberships and how else the organization supports and encourages the arts in this beautiful city! Heads up members to be! Jason Segel will be at the advanced screening of The End of the Tour and will be sticking around for a Q&A after the film. This all happens on July 26th. So excited for my first actor Q&A sesh.
That’s a wrap, TSPeeps.
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