Amy Winehouse biopic: Ten years after her death, should we all just leave her alone?

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Amy Winehouse in 2007 (Getty Images)
Amy Winehouse in 2007 (Getty Images)

This week the news was announced that a new Amy Winehouse biopic is in the works with Sam Taylor-Johnson attached as director.

The forthcoming film will be the first major non-documentary depiction of the singer: it is being produced by Studiocanal alongside seasoned producers Alison Owen (Elizabeth and Saving Mr. Banks) and Debra Hayward (Atonement and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and – crucially – it has approval from Winehouse’s estate.

However, the news has not been welcomed by swathes of Amy’s fans, with many devotees wishing that the star’s memory would be left alone.

The later years of the singer’s life were plastered across the British tabloids, even as Winehouse battled drug and alcohol addictions and mental illness.

“Not too keen on the idea of an amy winehouse biopic. perhaps if it focused on her younger years and rise to fame but i’m not interested in seeing her struggle with addiction exploited all over again for entertainment,” Tweeted one Winehouse fan.

“The last thing amy winehouse’s legacy needs is a distasteful biopic. hollywood should not be glamorizing the abuse she suffered through. celebrate her music, her mind, her creativity, her passion. leave her pain behind,” said another.

Two major films have already been made about the singer, who died from alcohol poisoning aged 27. But both have been documentaries: The first was Asif Kapadia’s 2015 Amy, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

The second, Reclaiming Amy, was released to commemorate a decade since the singer’s death and provided Winehouse’s family and friends with an opportunity to share their side of the story. Kapadia’s documentary had depicted some members of the singer’s support system in a negative light.

But now, the same questions around blame, respect and commemoration are back on the table, with the phrase “leave her alone” starting to do the rounds on Twitter.

“Especially for someone as exploited as amy winehouse like jesus christ leave her alone,” said one Winehouse fan.

“The idea of an amy winehouse biopic is so gross to me. people have profited off her addiction and death enough already. leave her alone,” said another.

“Whitney Houston & Amy Winehouse biopics coming up… even if death their families won’t leave them alone,” said a third.

“I would personally like to say: LEAVE AMY WINEHOUSE AND HER LEGACY ALONE,” said a fourth.

Winehouse died in July 2011. As the singer had not written a will, her estate went to her parents Janis and Mitch.

In the Kapadia documentary, as well as in online commentary from fans, some criticisms have fallen on Mitch for not doing more to help the singer while she was alive. Audiences also remember the famous line from the singer’s hit Rehab: “I ain’t got the time / And if my daddy thinks I’m fine.”

In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Mitch said: “I look back at that time now and I really do regret some of the things I did. But I did it with the right motives. You’re trying to protect your daughter, and half the time you’re making the situation worse.”

“There were parts that were horrific, but there were parts that were wonderful,” he said. “To have a daughter like Amy is a blessing.”

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