Director Asif Kapadia reveals some home truths about the men in Amy's life
Amy Winehouse’s death four years ago was a tragic event, and sadly one that everyone saw coming. She publicly battled addictions to drink and drugs, while at the same time singing how her ‘daddy’ told her she didn’t need rehab. Amy’s Camden crowd was a mix of fame-hungry ‘friends’ and hangers on, but the men in her life, namely dad Mitch and ex-husband Blake, at the centre of the circus.
The hugely anticipated, and now Oscar winning, documentary Amy, directed by Asif Kapadia, includes raw home videos and interviews with those closest to Amy – and that includes Blake, whether we like it or not. Asif told InStyle he had no choice but to interview Amy’s troubled ex-husband; “you may not particularly like certain people, but you’ve got to talk to them and get to the root of the story. For whatever reason, she fell for this guy. You can see it in the way she looks at him. If you want to understand her, you’ve got to understand the guy she fell for”.
A “tricky character” with a “messed up background” and “a lot of issues”, Blake was self-harming from the age of nine, his arms covered in scars but always shown off in a vest top. It was the tortured soul that attracted Amy to Blake - a girl who tried to help everyone else without dealing with her own issues.
You might not like what he has to say, but Blake is a key player in Amy - both good times, like never before seen footage of their 2007 Miami wedding, and bad times, using hard drugs in their dingy flat. As we all know, the Winehouse story doesn’t end well, so we’ll tell you now that you’re going to need tissues at the ready.
The other male figure in, or rather out, of Amy’s life is Mitch, the dad who has a lot to say about this documentary. Mitch might be threatening legal action, but Asif is having none of it; “I’ve been hearing that a lot, but nothing is happening. Life is too short to make a film just to pick on someone. We just tried to make the most honest film we did. Everyone is getting quite worried about how they’re portrayed but actually, she’s the one that’s dead, and the film is about her story”.
Tellingly, a lot of the comments on Mitch come from Amy herself, not the filmmakers; “she’s the one who writes about him in her songs”, he tells us.
Asif believes Amy could have been saved if she’d been taken out of the limelight and the people around her had made wiser decisions, but he’s definitely not assigning blame to any individuals. What Amy does do is show you exclusive new footage filmed by family and friends, allowing you to decide for yourself who could have helped the superstar, who after everything, was just a talented and tormented Jewish girl from North London.