“Back to Black” Review Round-Up: Marisa Abela Delivers Powerful Performance in Amy Winehouse Biopic

The reviews are pouring in for Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black, which tasked rising star Marisa Abela (Industry) with taking on the late, great, Grammy-winning British soul singer who was already an icon when she died, tragically, at 27. Winehouse was a force of nature, with a powerhouse voice and serious writing chops to match her undeniable charisma, so it would have been a tall order for any young actress to step into the role. According to critics, Abela more than rose to the challenge.

Back to Black is written by Nowhere Boy and Control screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh, and Taylor-Johnson’s film was given the crucial support of The Amy Winehouse Estate, Sony Music Publishing, and Universal Music Group. This means they were able to include many of Winehouse’s biggest hits, including, of course, the title track. Winehouse’s life was cut short–she died on July 23, 2001, at the age of 27 of an accidental alcohol overdose—yet she’d already become a worldwide phenomenon, selling more than 30 million records across the globe.

Joining Abela in the cast are Jack O’Connell as Amy’s ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, Eddie Marsan and Juliet Cowan as Amy’s parents, Mitch and Janis Winehouse, and Lesley Manville as Amy’s grandmother, Cynthia.

Back to Black hits theaters on May 17. Let’s take a quick peek at some of the critic reactions:

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Featured image: Marisa Abela stars as Amy Winehouse in director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s BACK TO BLACK, a Focus Features release. Credit : Courtesy of Dean Rogers/Focus Features


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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.