Back to Black, the biopic about Amy Winehouse: Our opinion and the trailer

Published by Caroline de Sortiraparis · Published on April 24th, 2024 at 08:26 a.m.
Marisa Abela plays Amy Winehouse in Sam Taylor-Johnson's new film. Entitled "Back to Black", in reference to the legendary album by the British singer who died in 2011, the biopic opens in French cinemas on Wednesday April 24, 2024. Discover our review and the film's trailer.

Another one! The number of biopics released on the silver screen is countless. From Miloš Forman'sAmadeus (1984) to Rupert Goold's Judy (2019), not forgetting Taylor Hackford's Ray (2004), James Mangold's Walk The Line(2006), Olivier Dahan's La Môme(2007), Florent Siri's Cloclo (2012), Mathieu Almaric's Barbara(2017) and Bryan Singer's Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).

This year, a new film joins this long list. Entitled"Back to Black", this biopic by Sam Taylor-Johnson(Fifty Shades of Grey, A Million Little Pieces) looks back at the tragic destiny of the fascinating Amy Winehouse.

Amy Winehouse died in 2011 at the age of just 27, leaving a huge void in the music world. With her golden, atypical voice, undeniable talent and world-famous hits(Rehab, You Know I'm No Good, Back to Black, Love Is a Losing Game, Tears Dry on Their Own...), the English artist's music continues to resonate in our heads to this day.

To play the British singer on the big screen, Sam Taylor-Johnson has chosen to cast Marisa Abela, seen in the film Barbie. Alongside the young Marisa Abela, we also find Jack O'Connell(HHhH, A life in a day, Love is a gun...) as Blake Fielder-Civil, the soul diva's ex-husband, and Eddie Marsan(Ray Donovan, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Flag Day...) chosen for the role of Mitch Winehouse, the artist's father.

When director Sam Taylor-Johnson chose to portray part of the life of the famous and talented Amy Winehouse, she clearly didn't take the easy option. Making a biopic is often a perilous exercise, closely scrutinized by fans. So how do you pay tribute to Amy Winehouse, the immense British artist whose voice marked an entire generation, in just 2 hours of film? The filmmaker, whose affection and deep respect for the British singer are palpable, has opted for an accelerated summary of the singer's dazzling life, choosing to focus more specifically on the release of her second album and her relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil. It all begins with the artist's early days performing in bars, including the famous Dublin Castle in London's Camden district. This was followed by the beginnings of recognition in the music world, with the signing to Island Records, before finally achieving success and fame with the opus"Back to Black".

Several personal aspects of the artist's life are explored, such as Amy's close bond with her grandmother, from whom she borrowed her pin-up look, her love of animals, especially birds, and her lifelong desire for children. Her bulimia is briefly mentioned, while her addiction problems are recounted at greater length, without lapsing into pathos.

While"Back to Black" focuses on the artist's meteoric rise and her music, it also (and perhaps a little too much) looks back at Amy's toxic relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil. This relationship, which was widely publicized in the British media, changed the singer's artistic and personal life to the point of leading her into a veritable descent into hell. The break-up with Blake gave rise to the sublime album"Back to Black", which won several Grammy awards in 2008. A fine piece of research by the filmmaker, who tried to recreate as faithfully as possible the famous scene where Amy Winehouse receives 5 Grammys while performing in London. The same reconstitution efforts were made for the wedding photo session between Amy and Blake in Miami. The couple's costumes and poses look identical, as does the breakfast of burgers and fries the day after the wedding. But perhaps this is the film's weakness. Most of the anecdotes staged in"Back to Black" are familiar to fans and some of the general public. We would have liked to know a little more about the creative process of the author and composer.

But"Back to Black" can count on the incredible performance of Marisa Abela as Amy. Adopting the singer's dress code, then sporting her make-up, hairstyle and certain attitudes, the resemblance is striking. And for those wondering, Marisa Abela actually sings in the film. A vocal feat for the British actress, who knew little about singing before the film. Another commendable performance? That of actor Jack O'Connell as Blake, who manages to convey a real chemistry between himself and Marisa, particularly during the scene of their first meeting.

"Back To Black" may not appeal to everyone, but we had a great time rediscovering a part of Amy's life, buoyed by a sublime soundtrack and the convincing performance of Marisa Abela, who above all wanted to represent Amy, not just copy her.

Back to Black opens in French cinemas on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

Back to Black : bande-annonce du biopic sur Amy WinehouseBack to Black : bande-annonce du biopic sur Amy WinehouseBack to Black : bande-annonce du biopic sur Amy WinehouseBack to Black : bande-annonce du biopic sur Amy Winehouse

Official trailer for Back to Black (2024) :

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Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
Starts April 24th, 2024

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