Sunday, May 19, 2024

Back to Black: Why You’ll Want to See it

Back to Black Movie Review

Perhaps surprisingly, you might find yourself smiling while you are watching the latest movie about Amy Winehouse, Back to Black. Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, it stars Marisa Abel in the title role, Jack O’Connell as her husband, and Eddie Marsan as her father, all of whom portray their characters convincingly.

Rather than a gritty, punk-infused narrative fuelled by despair and desperation, it’s a biopic comprising humour, warmth and love.

Negativity, addiction, and the tragedy of her untimely passing take a back seat to Winehouse’s music. The movie focuses on her music, and the inspirations behind it. A considerable amount of screen time is devoted to her songs, delivered with relative accuracy.

Though die-hard fans may disagree, Marisa Abel’s competent vocals carry the music and the story with surprising ease, with only one track  from the extended selection featuring Winehouse’s actual voice.  Back to Black includes songs from her debut album, Frank, along with a collection from her Grammy winning album. From the outset, the movie covers all the musical influences of her life, from family sing-a-longs, Tony Bennett, the Shangri-las and Billy Holiday.

The movie’s title is apt.  At the heart of the story is Winehouse’s feelings for her lover and husband, Blake Fiedler-Civil who is presented as a duplicitous but clever charmer and loveable rogue, who is the inspiration behind her chart-topping song and album of the same name

Back to Black is a clever production. Ultimately, it’s a story of failure of those closest to Winehouse. It seems there were many who could clearly see the train wreck of her alcoholic life but simply watched it unfold without intervention. And of course the greatest failure was Amy’s inability to overcome her addiction to her husband and her booze. Despite this, her gift to the world of her powerful musical legacy shines through, allowing it to be a movie that can be enjoyed, in spite the tragedy of her untimely demise.

See a documentary on Amy Winehouse here.
See more like this.

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