As predicted, I did shed more tears throughout the film, as did all the fellow viewers fixing their makeup in the ladies’ afterwards. Even my man got a little glassy-eyed.
Given the objections of Amy’s father, I was expecting him to have gotten much more of a raw deal. He has, after all, given the quote:
“The film needed a villain--They found me.”(NME)
I’m not sure if villain is too strong a word, but some of Mitch’s mistakes, if you weren’t already aware of them, were certainly laid out for all to see on the big screen.
His extra marital affair and divorce from her mother, Janis, apparently affected her more than he claims to realise, judging by the songs she wrote about the subject and what she told others about her feelings on it.
His crashing of Amy’s Jamaican break with a BBC crew wasn’t his finest hour either, though he insists she agreed to this.
Some may see stunts such as these as him trying to bask in her limelight, or as controlling, but, when it comes to Amy’s addiction, if anything, he’s held up as being too passive in her downward spiral—not cancelling appearances, not pushing her into rehab, allowing her to travel to the States while she’s clearly not in her own best state…
Having said this, I can see how it must be hard for him; it’s an edited version of events in which not many happy moments shared between him and Amy are included.
But unbalanced doesn’t necessarily mean inaccurate. Whether it’s fair is another matter.
There had to be room for others to give their account. Others like Amy’s friends from childhood, who didn’t exactly help Mitch’s case, but whose perspectives it’s good to get as much of as we do.
One person who does come across well is her former manager, Nick Shymansky. Although younger than Amy in years, he attempted to stop her descent into dependency, sending her to rehab for that short visit that inspired the song.
He delivers a dilemma to the audience, supposing that had she stuck out those ten weeks at that time, we may not have had Back to Black, but we may still have Amy.
Doherty does speak very briefly, but more about the music scene than the singer herself.
Brand is seen but not heard, but for his ever eloquent summary of the film, see below.
My impressions from the trailer were matched by the film, give or take a few quotes missing and a few wrong guesses: it was rapper/actor Mos Def, who I didn’t realise was so friendly with Amy, not Nas, who was speaking about her seeking love.
There was some shocking footage of Amy obviously under the influence that was previously unseen by me (I had to look away), and one or two other things that were new, but, being a big fan, a lot was familiar.
Big fan or not, I would definitely recommend seeing this film if you are at all interested in an insight into the inner workings of the music industry, its perils and the life of a girl who is a huge loss all round.