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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Everyone needs loyal friends and supportive family members who will be honest when necessary and have your best interests in mind. Also, hard work plus talent equals success -- but talent isn't always enough to buoy someone (Winehouse's fate can be seen as a cautionary tale).
Positive Role Models
Some of Winehouse's friends, especially those she'd known since childhood, adored her for who she was, not for how famous she became. They did their best to help her. Despite being troubled, Winehouse always displayed reverence for musicians who blazed the trail before her. She was enormously talented but didn't take her talent for granted, always working hard. She had many flaws (and a serious substance problem), but she wasn't a bad person.
Violence & Scariness
References to arguments between Winehouse and her husband that sometimes devolved into self-harm, including cutting. Verbal scuffling. The paparazzi are increasingly menacing as Winehouse gets more famous.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some clips show Winehouse and her husband French kissing and groping each other. Open talk about them having lots of sex and discussing promiscuity.
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"Damn," "s--t," and occasional use of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Products/labels seen or mentioned include Tanqueray, Puma, Beck's, the Four Seasons, BMW, Vaseline, and Stella Artois.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Plenty of conversations about Winehouse's drug use (weed, crack cocaine, and heroin) and massive alcohol abuse. She's shown stumbling around high/inebriated, incoherent, and at one point exhibiting signs that she's jonesing for a fix. Lots of cigarette smoking and shots of tinfoil, presumably used to cook drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Amy is a no-holds-barred documentary about singer Amy Winehouse's impressive ascent and tragic end. As such, it's quite frank in its approach, with plenty of scenes showing Winehouse at her peak (singing for a friend as a teenager, that signature voice unmistakable), as well as at some of her most challenging and perhaps saddest moments: tweaking onstage as if she can't wait for her next fix, nodding off drunk, being hounded by the paparazzi. It's probably best for mature teens and adults who can better process what the singer appears to have gone through -- the pressures of fame, the pain of deep family dysfunction, an unhealthy relationship. Expect scenes in which Winehouse shows off her drug stash, drinks to oblivion, and is fondled by her husband. There's lots of swearing, too, including "s--t" and "f--k." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
If you only knew Winehouse as the punchline of many comedians' jokes about drugs, alcohol ,and excess, Amy will make you remember all of those bits with discomfort. And if Winehouse's deep, resonant voice haunts you every time you listen to one of her songs, Amy will do so threefold. The British singer's voice is everywhere in this powerful documentary -- speaking brashly to talk show hosts, flirtatiously to lovers, petulantly to her father, and painfully and truthfully to some of her friends. And when she sings, which she does frequently (although very rarely completely, as songs are cut off midway for storytelling), we're reminded of how important a musician the world lost; she was a monumental talent. In a way, she tells her own story, with director Asif Kapadia relying on old footage of Winehouse with pals and in interviews (as well as hounded by the paparazzi) to show viewers who she was. Like her music, the film is unapologetically honest, perhaps even dwelling a little too much on the sadness that clung to the singer and the demons that eventually destroyed her. We almost feel bad about looking, as if rubber-necking at a car accident scene.
But Amy also does a brilliant job of showing how much Winehouse meant to those who really knew her: her girlhood best friends, her former roommates, her first manager, her last bodyguard. To many, she was more than the memorable voice -- and certainly more than her frailties. Kapadia is able to fashion a textured portrait that doesn't shy away from harsh truths but also manages to make the iconic singer far more than the sum of the thousands of tabloid headlines written about her. Amy Winehouse was gifted. Amy Winehouse was troubled. Amy Winehouse was tempestuous and loyal and giving and frustrating. She was a complicated human being, and Amy's biggest feat is driving that message home to viewers who may have written her off as yet another strung-out musician.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.