Successfully Unsubscribed

Please allow up to 10 days for your unsubscription request to be processed.


Back to Black (2024) — Movie Review

Fans' love for biopics about famous musicians is a double-edged sword - they appreciate the telling of iconic life stories but are quick to dissect the portrayal's against truth and authenticity. A case in point is 'Back to Black,' based on the turbulent life of the late singer Amy Winehouse.

On one side lies the danger of tarnishing the story and subject, or botching the music with less-than-adequate performances. Conversely, a biopic that has actors lip-syncing to original songs may soften the portrayal of the subject's darker side to gain access to original recordings or rights.

Yet, films like 'Rocketman' or 'Bohemian Rhapsody' have shown that success can be found by striking a balance between reverence and critique. This middle ground is what 'Back to Black,' directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and written by Matt Greenhalgh, ambitiously aims for.

Drawing on an impressive performance, Marisa Abela, despite not being a trained singer, meticulously encapsulates Winehouse's distinctive blend of vulnerability and self-destructive presence. Yet, her musical attempts still feel rushed, lacking the nuanced control that Winehouse was known for.

Back to Black (2024) — Movie Review

The movie precisely recreates numerous notable performances from Winehouse's career echo, satisfying the fans' nostalgia. Yet, it may disappoint some as it refrains from delving into the complex facets of Winehouse's life off-stage, as explored in Asif Kapadia's documentary 'Amy.'

The film sheds a sympathetic light on Winehouse's family and her husband Blake Fielder-Civil, offering a different perspective than what's often portrayed. However, the film's focus on her relationships and stardom journey doesn't come close to understanding the dynamics of her inner workings.

Ultimately, 'Back to Black' offers a visually striking yet surface-level exploration of Winehouse's life. Its failings reflect the inherent paradox of biopics; they aim to reveal but often end up leaving viewers yearning for a deeper understanding.