Amy Winehouse Biopic Brings Tragic Star To Life In Stunning Video

By Douglas Helm | Published

Back to Black Amy Winehouse trailer

StudioCanal and Monumental Pictures released a new trailer for Back to Black, the biopic of the late singer Amy Winehouse. This first trailer shows Marisa Abela as Winehouse, donning the singer’s signature beehive hairdo and eyeliner. The film promises it will be a “powerful tribute to a once-in-a-generation artist.”

Back to Black Teaser Trailer

Amy Winehouse was a singer-songwriter who captured audiences with her timeless and expressive vocals, releasing two studio albums before passing away in 2011. While Winehouse was a critically acclaimed and highly decorated artist, tabloid publications would often focus on her struggles with drugs and alcohol over everything else. Those struggles are one of the reasons many of Winehouse fans are worried about the potentially exploitative nature of Back in Black.

Back in Black has received some criticism since it was announced, with fans getting especially upset when on-set images of Abela emerged that showed her in character as Amy Winehouse with ruined makeup and hair. This has led many to worry that the biopic may be capitalizing on the distress and the tumultuous years Winehouse experienced near the end of her life. With the tabloid publications damaging the singer while she was alive, some feel that the biopic is in poor taste, especially since Winehouse has only been gone for a little over a decade at this point. 

Back to Black Amy Winehouse trailer

Amy Winehouse was so bombarded by paparazzi during her life that she gained an injunction against paparazzi agency Big Pictures in 2009 under the Protection from Harassment Act. Despite the tabloids focusing only on the tragic elements of Winehouse’s life, Winehouse has become a massively influential artist who has influenced many top artists today. She also was the first woman to win five Grammy Awards.

It’s a tricky balance to create a biopic about a beloved figure, especially when someone has passed away. The Taron Egerton-led Elton John biopic Rocketman didn’t shy away from depicting some of John’s more difficult moments in life, but Elton John was also an executive producer and had a say in what was depicted. Amy Winehouse has no agency in telling this story, so the film runs the risk of either being exploitative or sanitized, and Winehouse has no say in either case.

Back to Black Amy Winehouse trailer

There have been a couple of documentaries made about Amy Winehouse since her death, including 2015’s Amy and 2021’s Reclaiming Amy. Since her story has been told, some view the biopic route as unnecessary. With that being said, there is some hope that director Sam Taylor-Johnson will be able to handle the film with care and portray Winehouse’s story in an authentic way that honors her legacy.

Sam Taylor-Johnson previously helmed the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, which received good reviews. Additionally, Winehouse’s father Mitch is involved in the biopic, which means the Amy Winehouse Foundation supports the movie.

Perhaps most importantly, Sam Taylor-Johnson was reportedly friends with Winehouse, telling Rolling Stone,  “My connection to Amy began when I left college and was hanging out in the creatively diverse London borough of Camden,” adding, “I first saw her perform at a talent show at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho, and it was immediately obvious she wasn’t just ‘talent’… she was genius.”

For now, we’ll just have to see where the Amy Winehouse film lands on the biopic scale. Back in Black is set to be released in theaters on May 10. It’ll hit UK theaters a month earlier on April 12.