Amy Winehouse’s family criticises “misleading” new documentary about her life

The Back to Black singer's father Mitch has said the film contains "basic untruths", and is threatening to sue the makers

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Amy Winehouse’s father has fiercely criticised a new documentary about the singer’s life for being “unbalanced” and “misleading.” 

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Created by Senna director Asif Kapadia and due to be shown next month at the Cannes Film Festival, the movie follows the musician’s personal and professional experiences in the lead up to her death from alcohol poisoning in 2011.

But in a statement, Mitch Winehouse and his family said of the documentary: “It is both misleading and contains some basic untruths. The narrative is formed by the testimony of a narrow sample of Amy’s associates, many of whom had nothing to do with her in the last years of her life. Counter views expressed to the filmmakers did not make the final cut.

“Fundamentally, the Winehouse family believes that the film does a disservice to individuals and families suffering from the complicated affliction of addiction.”

Although the film originally received backing from the Grammy Award-winning singer’s relatives, they would now like to “disassociate themselves from the forthcoming film.”

Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse told The Sun: “I felt sick when I watched it for the first time. Amy would be furious. This is not what she would have wanted….They had a pretty good idea of the film they wanted to make from the off and weren’t going to let anything, like the truth or Amy’s friends, get in the way.”

The former cab driver and jazz singer also said he would consider taking legal action when the film about his daughter is released in July.

“We can’t stop it but when the film does come out we can sue for libel or slander. Our lawyers will view the film and reserve the right to do that and see whether there are any grounds,” he said.

The filmmakers have since defended the documentary in their own statement: “We came on board with the full backing of the Winehouse family and we approached the project with total objectivity.

“We conducted in the region of 100 interviews with people that knew Amy. The story that the film tells is a reflection of our findings from these interviews.”

Amy will be released on 3 July


Here is the Winehouse family’s statement in full:

The Winehouse family would like to disassociate themselves from the forthcoming film about their much missed and beloved Amy. The documentary about her life will be released this summer and receive its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

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. There are specific allegations made against family and management that are unfounded and unbalanced. The narrative is formed by the testimony of a narrow sample of Amy’s associates, many of whom had nothing to do with her in the last years of her life. Counter views expressed to the filmmakers did not make the final cut.

Fundamentally, the Winehouse family believes that the film does a disservice to individuals and families suffering from the complicated affliction of addiction. By misunderstanding the condition and its treatment, the film suggests for instance that not enough was done for Amy, that her family and management pushed her into performing or did not do enough to help her. In reality, the filmmakers were told of a huge effort from all concerned to help Amy at all stages of her illness and their constant presence in her life throughout, as well as that of many excellent medical professionals. As many families know, addiction cannot begin to be treated properly until the individual helps themselves and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

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Furthermore, Amy was an adult who could never be told what she could and could not do. Through their work with the Amy Winehouse Foundation, Amy’s family have met many others enduring through the same struggle that they endured and have helped hundreds of disadvantaged young people in Amy’s name. They will continue to do so and hope their work creates more understanding of a terrible illness.