Upcoming Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black is already receiving heavy criticism. Here’s why

By Alma Fabiani

Published Jan 20, 2023 at 12:02 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes


Though 2015 blessed us with Asif Kapadia’s heartwrenching and Oscar-winning documentary Amy, it’s somewhat surprising that it took eight years for someone to jump on a biopic about the British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse.

But the time has finally come—a biopic, titled Back to Black after Winehouse’s most popular album, is now officially in the works. It even has a lead, BBC’s Industry star Marisa Abela, whose transformation into the singer was revealed in a first look on Friday 13 January 2023. Though Winehouse’s iconic beehive and heavy-winged eyeliner are definitely a staple of Abela’s character, since production for the movie has begun in London, the internet has made it its sole purpose to criticise every aspect of it.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of why fans are already saying “no, no, no” to Back to Black, let’s take a look at what you should expect from the upcoming film.

Partnering with Focus Features and Monumental Pictures, distribution company Studio Canal has officially stated that filming started on Monday 16 January in the UK capital. Back to Black will be directed by British filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson—aka Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s wife, who she allegedly first met on the set of the 2009 film Nowhere Boy when Aaron was only 18 and Sam, 42. But we’ll get back to that point later.


Taylor-Johnson will be reuniting with writer Matt Greenhalgh, with whom she also collaborated on Nowhere Boy, which was another biopic of an iconic musical legend who died too soon, John Lennon. For those of you who have been living under a rock, Winehouse, who struggled with substance abuse both before and after her career blossomed, was found dead on 23 July 2011 from alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 at her home in Camden, North London.

Now, onto Abela’s role—the first major lead for the young British actress. Apart from playing the ambitious intern Yasmin in Industry, Abela will next be seen in Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Barbie, set to come out this summer.

As noted by Harper’s Bazaar, “crucially, she is also, like Winehouse, of Jewish descent—something the production team will likely have looked for—and she also has musical experience.” The 26-year-old, who only graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 2019, recently confirmed that she will be playing Winehouse on her Instagram with a photo of her posing in front of a mural of the singer in Camden.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Marisa Abela (@marisaabela_)

Though it’s almost been confirmed that Back to Black will cover Winehouse’s beginnings in Camden, her rise through the city’s jazz club scene, her early success with Frank as well as the stratospheric heights she reached with her second album, it’s yet to be confirmed whether or not the biopic will also reflect on the darker and more sinister aspects of her life, those that ultimately led to her tragically early death. One can only imagine that it will, at least for some part, with the omission of the many controversies surrounding Winehouse’s father, Mitch.

Speaking about how dear this project is to her, Taylor-Johnson said: “My connection to Amy began when I left college and was hanging out in the creatively diverse London borough of Camden. I got a job at the legendary KOKO Club, and I can still breathe every market stall, vintage shop and street. 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. As a filmmaker, you can’t really ask for more.”

She went on to add, “I am fully aware of the responsibility, and with my writing collaborator—Matt Greenhalgh—I will create a movie that we will all love and cherish forever. Just like we do Amy.” And boy is the pressure on!

On Twitter, among countless tweets criticising the filmmaker’s 23-year age gap with her husband and the actor’s age when they first got involved, fans of the late singer can be found speaking up about how wrong “capitalising off” Winehouse’s traumatic time in the spotlight feels.

Meanwhile on TikTok, users have been quick to highlight the current lack of originality in the movie industry—you’re telling me we’re about to get another Elvis biopic?—and went as far as to compare Abela’s Winehouse wardrobe to a cheap SHEIN knock-off…


We really didn’t need an Amy Winehouse biopic it’s too soon #amywinehouse #biopic #amywinehouseedit #jennifercoolidge #2000smusic #2000sthrowback

♬ original sound - Link Lauren

Keep On Reading

By Abby Amoakuh

Crunchy, silky, scrunchie and almond moms: What’s behind TikTok’s latest parenting craze?

By Charlie Sawyer

TikTok investigator reveals identity of pathological liar in Who TF Did I Marry 50-part viral series

By Abby Amoakuh

Why you should keep an eye on The Summer I Turned Pretty star Lola Tung and her Broadway debut

By Malavika Pradeep

Kidcore: A dive into the colourful and nostalgic aesthetic trend

By Abby Amoakuh

Sex workers in the UK say the financial institutions are waging a war against them

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

4-year-old becomes second child to have near-death experience after drinking iced slushy

By Charlie Sawyer

Real Legion from viral Who TF Did I Marry TikTok drama comes out with new response

By Abby Amoakuh

The things we still don’t understand about sexual assault: Why we need EU-wide Only Yes Means Yes laws

By Charlie Sawyer

Vampire facials at unlicensed New Mexico spa have infected three women with HIV

By Charlie Sawyer

Straight men are lying about their sexuality on dating apps to try and get more likes

By Abby Amoakuh

Where is Alexa Demie, the breakout star of Euphoria season one, and what is she doing now?

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Percy Hynes White speaks out after Netflix confirmed that he won’t return for Wednesday season 2

By Fleurine Tideman

We’re not ready for TikToker Caroline Lusk, or women in general, to call themselves pretty

By Abby Amoakuh

Political fandoms are ruining democracy. Here’s how we can fix it

By Abby Amoakuh

Bride walks out on her own wedding after the groom smashed a cake in her face, and she’s not the first one!

By Charlie Sawyer

American Airlines blames 9-year-old girl for not detecting flight attendant’s hidden bathroom camera

By Charlie Sawyer

TikTok Peter Griffin filter goes viral after glitch reveals random man flashing

By Abby Amoakuh

Carnivorous turtle able to chew through human bone found in Cumbria by local parish

By Charlie Sawyer

Performers like Grace Campbell and Sophie Duker are boycotting Latitude Festival 2024, here’s why

By Charlie Sawyer

Tracking down the mystery man who’s been punching women in the face in New York