The acclaimed Amy Winehouse documentary Amy is set for a wider release to U.S. theaters this weekend, and although critics have raved about the intense, probing film, some of those closest to the singer have campaigned against Amy. While Winehouse’s family have announced that they “disassociated” from the documentary because it casts the singer’s father Mitch in a negative light, one of Winehouse’s closest collaborators, Back to Black producer Mark Ronson, has applauded the film, professing that Amy captures Winehouse’s “genius.”
“Obviously, it’s tough to watch the film because it brings back memories,” Ronson told The Mirror. “But what I love about it is that my wife never got to meet Amy and I am always telling her stories about us in the studio and the clever, witty things that Amy would say. We watched it and my wife said, ‘Now I get it. Now I see the Amy you talked about.’ I forget that not everyone got to see that side of her.”
The Asif Kapadia-directed Amy is constructed primarily out of home videos and archival footage that track Winehouse as she grows from a talented teenager to a reluctant star to a worldwide phenomenon. The viewer is also confronted with the many enablers who targeted the singer once she became famous and documents, in haunting detail, Winehouse’s downward spiral. However, Ronson says Amy also cements Winehouse’s legacy as a unique, generational talent.
“The really respectful thing about the movie is you are reminded why she was famous in the first place – she was a genius, that’s the stuff even I can forget,” Ronson said. “I forget that when I played her the piano chords to ‘Back To Black,’ she wrote the lyrics in an hour. I was blown away; people just don’t write lyrics like that any more. On ‘Rehab’ as well, she wrote those lyrics in two hours and they’re so honest. Whoever thought there’d be a pop record about preferring to listen to Donny Hathaway than going to rehab, in 2006? Hers were the most open, honest lyrics you’re ever going to hear on pop radio.”
Despite Ronson’s seal of approval, as well as reviews putting Amy on the same level as the similarly constructed, equally introspective Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Winehouse’s own family have severed any connection to the documentary. “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,” the Winehouse family said in a statement. “There are specific allegations made against family and management that are unfounded and unbalanced.”