The Amy Winehouse biopic reviews are in - and it's had a pretty rough response from critics

They're not convinced

Amy Winehouse performing on stage
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new biopic about Amy Winehouse, titled Back to Black, is coming out this week, but don't get too excited yet.

Unfortunately, the film — which was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and stars Marisa Abela as the gone-too-soon singer — is getting positively berated by critics in their official reviews.

Hamish MacBain at The Standard gave the film one star out of five, kicking off his review with the line: "Before we even get to the deep moral and ethical problems, Back to Black is, on the most basic of levels, a poor, poor piece of filmmaking."

He ends his utter take-down with the sentence: "The final scene, in particular, with its completely and utterly baseless, sensationalist implications, made me physically gasp in horror."


The Hollywood Reporter, which praises Marisa's acting performance, skewers her musical chops. "Not necessarily a singer by trade, the actress reportedly took hours upon hours of music lessons to get to a place where she could mimic Winehouse’s singing on stage," wrote critic Leslie Felperin. "But the end result still sounds auto-tuned up the wazoo, zhuzhed further with great dollops of coloratura note-bending and wailing."

Leslie also accuses the director of having "a certain facile interest in surface, an obsession with celebrity and fame that lacks insight, a pop video-deep approach to narrative."

Empire's Hayley Campbell gives the flick a generous two stars out of five, and calls Marisa's a "solid performance let down by a script that cherry-picks the facts and ultimately tells us less than we already know."

The Independent's Charlotte O'Sullivan called the film "cringeworthy," while The Daily Mail's Peter Hoskin urged: "So if they try to make you watch this movie, say: no, no, no."

Still, it's not all bad, and The Guardian awarded Back to Black a respectable four stars, and at time of writing, it is still over the "certified fresh" threshold on Rotten Tomatoes — just about.

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn is a celebrity and royal news writer for Marie Claire. As a London-based freelance journalist, she writes about wellness, relationships, pop culture, beauty and more for the likes of InStyle, Women's Health, Bustle, Stylist and Red. Aside from her quasi-personal investment in celebs' comings and goings, Iris is especially interested in debunking diet culture and destigmatising mental health struggles. Previously, she was the associate editor for Her Campus, where she oversaw the style and beauty news sections, as well as producing gift guides, personal essays and celebrity interviews. There, she worked remotely from Los Angeles, after returning from a three-month stint as an editorial intern for in New York. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she interned at goop and C California Style and served as Her Campus' national style and LGBTQ+ editor. Iris was born and raised in France by a French father and an English mother. Her Spotify Wrapped is riddled with country music and One Direction, and she can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.