Finding The Real Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse tragically became the brunt of cruel jokes by comics the likes of Jay Leno. Every symptom of her psychological suffering was up for grabs: her bulimia, drug addiction, and her state of mind: “She’s like a mad person.” It’s not that simple.

Amy, the sensitive, sad, and revealing documentary by Asif Kapadia, sets those who brutally misunderstood Amy straight. There’s nothing funny about psychological troubles. In real footage of Amy from her childhood to the end, Kapadia gives us an emotionally raw window into the real Amy Winehouse.

Her family and ex-boyfriend may criticize him for getting some things wrong. But we’ll never know for sure. What no one can deny are Amy’s words. Her candid and, even blunt, honesty about herself. In the things she said and in her lyrics.

Amy wrote only about her own experience. The video footage and her songs leave us an emotional legacy of the inner life of Amy Winehouse. And Kapadia has done Amy justice in bringing her to life before our eyes.

Amy may have had a few stints in rehab – despite her famous “no, no, no.” But what she tragically didn’t have was therapy. In my next post, I’ll talk about how, as a psychoanalyst, I would understand Amy. And what drove her to alcohol, drugs, and an eating disorder. Not to mention how impossible it was for Amy to handle her celebrity.

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Dr. Sandra E. Cohen

I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. I work with creatives in therapy, story/character development, and entertainment consulting. If you are a writer, actor, or director and want help with a character – or a chance to do some of your own personal work - call at 310.273.4827 or email me at to schedule a confidential discussion to explore working together.