Back to Black – Is the Amy Winehouse Flick Worth it for Fans?

Back to Black movie review

In an ongoing onslaught of music biographical films, it seems that no stone is going unturned. Is this because of the lack of original ideas or is it because of last year’s strike? Every musician has a story and it seems that right now, more and more of them are coming to theater screens. And this month, we get to see the biopic of Amy Winehouse – Back to Black.

The movie picks up in Amy’s life when she is a late teenager and dreams of becoming a musician and star. Her goals are big and she refuses to settle for anything else. For a movie that comes in just under two hours, the pacing is actually pretty good. It quickly takes audiences from her teenage years to her first blush with celebrity, to breaking into the American market, and her eventual overdose and death. That isn’t a spoiler since this is based on a true story and Winehouse died in 2011. But it highlights the career failures, her break from music and meeting her eventual husband, plus her struggles with addiction and even her rehab stay.

Winehouse is played by Marisa Abela, who not only can visually play the part but took the time to learn to sing so she could perform as well. While not completely spot on Abela embraces Winehouse well enough that it may be hard to pick out the differences in the songs from the two performers.

The movie doesn’t sit on its laurels, and Back to Black is surprisingly uplifting, especially knowing the ending even before the movie starts. It highlights Winehouse’s talents and shows her ambitions well. It doesn’t dwell on the bad things in her life but doesn’t hide them either. Unfortunately, it does leave you questioning how much was what really happened and how much was creative licensing to tell the story that the producer wanted to be told. And without actually being there with Amy Winehouse every day of her life and in her last moments, it’s something we as audience members will never know.

It does play a good tribute to her music, her creativity, and the music that her fans still love to this day. Even the ones that are performed by Marisa Abela, you can feel the heart and soul of each song as it comes through. The movie, no doubt, has a fantastic soundtrack that fans are going to love.

Back to Black is in theaters everywhere now.

Overall Rating

Four Star Review

About Back to Black

The extraordinary story of Amy Winehouse’s early rise to fame from her early days in Camden through the making of her groundbreaking album, Back to Black that catapulted Winehouse to global fame. Told through Amy’s eyes and inspired by her deeply personal lyrics, the film explores and embraces the many layers of the iconic artist and the tumultuous love story at the center of one of the most legendary albums of all time.


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