Published On: Tue, Apr 9th, 2024

Back to Black reviews – ‘Solid’ Amy Winehouse performance in ‘flawed’ biopic | Films | Entertainment


A member of the 27 Club, Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 after an award-winning career that is now immortalised by just two studio albums.

Now her brief life is now the subject of a biopic named after her most famous record, one of the UK’s best-selling albums of all time, Back to Black.

Rising star Marisa Abela plays the late singer opposite Jack O’Connell as her husband Blake Fielder-Civil in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s biopic.

Following last night’s UK premiere, the critics are decidedly mixed in their reviews (4-1 stars), with the film receiving 53 per cent positive on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing.

Check out their reactions below which largely praise the titular star’s performance, but also point out the flaws in the movie itself.

Daily Mail
All of the usual sins of biopics are committed here – only more so. We rush so quickly from Winehouse’s becardiganed early years to her mid-noughties pomp to her alcohol-induced demise that we barely get to know her and those around her.

Evening Standard
The final scene, in particular, with its completely and utterly baseless, sensationalist implications, made me physically gasp in horror.

Empire
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.

Total Film
A competent if occasionally clunky biopic, enlivened by a superb Marisa Abela, who truly inhabits Winehouse and brings those songs to life.

Digital Spy
Despite the efforts of Marisa Abela in a challenging role, it’s hard to know exactly who Back to Black ends up being for.

Daily Telegraph
Because of the cautious gloss, the film is perhaps less enlightening or truly tragic than it might have been.

Not all the critics were so harsh, with some even giving Back to Black three or four stars.

Metro
Back to Black is a sympathetic – if flawed – attempt to paint a picture of Winehouse in her own intoxicating chaos.

The Guardian
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.

The Sun
A Disney version of Amy’s decline, but still a desperately sad lost love.

Variety
The film’s snaky on-and-off power begins with the British actor Marisa Abela, whose lead performance nails Amy Winehouse in every look, mood, utterance, and musical expression.

NME
It offers a welcome reminder of Winehouse’s plucky spirit – something that often gets lost when her life is reduced to a hackneyed tale of talent and tragedy

Back to Black hits cinemas on April 12, 2024.



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