“I don’t think I knew what depression was – I think it’s a musician thing, that’s why I love music,” says Amy in one of three newly-released clips from the documentary, Amy, which debuted last week and broke box office records for a documentary in the UK.
In watching the clips — which include an a cappella recording session of “Back to Black” with producer Mark Ronson, an impromptu verse of “Happy Birthday,” and a phone interview accompanied by photos – viewers are exposed to Winehouse’s fragility set against her bold artistry.
The first clip almost reads as a stripped down music video for “Back to Black,” captioned with lyrics that are especially resonant in the a cappella portions. In the studio with Mark Ronson, Amy appears at ease, but, while singing “Back to Black’s” outro, she closes the song with a subtly defeated attitude, rhetorically asking Ronson, “It’s always a bit upsetting at the end, isn’t it?”
Despite the intimate moments revealed in favor of Amy’s raw talent, her family isn’t convinced that Amy’s story was depicted truthfully. In a statement published by The Guardian in April, they said they “feel that the film is a missed opportunity to celebrate her life and talent and that it is both misleading and contains some basic untruths.” Amy’s father, Mitch Winehouse, claims his quote taken out of context gives a false impression that he discouraged Amy from seeking care altogether, and recently stated his intent to develop his own film about his daughter.
Whether or not they’ve gotten approval, this footage provides a lovely but wrenching look into an equally difficult film: