Critics Are All Saying The Same Things About New Amy Winehouse Biopic Back To Black

The first reviews are less than impressed about this depiction of the music legend’s life.
The reviews are in.
The reviews are in.

The new Amy Winehouse biopic Back To Black has proved to be divisive ever since the first trailer came out – but now the critics have shared their verdict.

The new Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed film stars Industry actor Marisa Abela as the iconic north London artist – alongside Eddie Marsan, Lesley Manville and Jack O’Connell – and retraces the legendary artist’s life and music career.

Fans of the late music icon already aired their concerns about whether it was necessary to depict Amy’s life in a dramatised biopic (without family involvement) that might be exploitative of the late star’s struggles.

But while the first reviews have praised Marisa’s “strong” portrayal of Amy, many are less impressed about the rest…

“Back to Black is essentially a gentle, forgiving film and there are other, tougher, bleaker ways to put Winehouse’s life on screen – but Abela conveys her tenderness, and perhaps most poignantly of all her youth, so tellingly at odds with that tough image and eerily mature voice.”

“Back To Black scarcely scratches the surface of Amy Winehouse’s personal demons, but it is anchored by a masterful performance from Marisa Abela.”

“Marisa Abela does a sterling job as the troubled star – but this overly cautious drama ducks away from saying anything truly enlightening.”

“Marisa Abela does an extraordinary job in the new film, but it fails to shine any substantial additional light on the late singer…Taylor-Johnson’s presentations of the songs are rich in detail and gorgeously atmospheric, but away from the microphone Winehouse remains an enigma, a torch singer upon whom neither director nor writer shine any substantial additional light.”

“Despite strong performances from Marisa Abela and Jack O’Connell as the late icon and her one-time husband Blake Fielder-Civil, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s controversial film tiptoes around judging anyone who isn’t part of the paparazzi – Blake and Amy’s father Mitch get off scot-free.”

“Whether it ends up being a movie you want to see is another matter entirely. It’s ultimately a subjective view on one of the most-scrutinised celebrities of the modern era that attempts to shift the focus onto her musical legacy, rather than her tragedy.

“For some, that might work and it’ll be seen as a celebration of Amy Winehouse. But for others, Back to Black won’t do anywhere near enough to change their minds.”

Empire (2/5)

“A solid performance let down by a script that cherry-picks the facts and ultimately tells us less than we already know. Watch Asif Kapadia’s Amy instead.”

“Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Amy Winehouse biopic was so bad it made me gasp in horror…Beyond the moral problems, this take on the life of the tragic London singer is a poor, poor piece of filmmaking.”

“Marisa Abela nails Amy Winehouse in every look, mood and note in a biopic at once forthright and forbidding…Sam Taylor-Johnson’s jazz-meets-rock-star drama exerts an authentic fascination, even as its dysfunctional-addict love story keeps us at a distance.”

“A refreshingly honest look at the short, troubled life of Amy Winehouse…At the heart of it is relative newcomer Marisa Abela, who excels when she’s free of delivering expositional biopic dialogue and just being Amy Winehouse (a brief, verité-style sequence on the streets of Manhattan is quite breathtaking). In those moments, we get a sense of Amy Winehouse on the rise, a superhero origins story in which certain elements coalesce to produce the elegantly surly, coifed and tatted icon represented on the poster.”


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