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Movie of the week: Amy Winehouse biopic – Back to Black 

Marisa Abela’s captivating portrayal elevates this heartfelt biopic of the legendary Amy Winehouse, surpassing the typical standards of recent rockstar films.

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, known for her directorial debut ‘Nowhere Boy’, reunites with screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh to craft a poignant exploration of Winehouse’s life. The film delves into her deep familial bonds and tumultuous romance with Blake Fielder-Civil, portrayed with compelling flair by Jack O’Connell.

Abela and O’Connell’s on-screen chemistry brings to life the toxic co-dependency between Winehouse and Fielder-Civil. Set against the backdrop of noughties Camden Town, their turbulent relationship unfolds amidst a swirl of vodka and hard drugs.

Eddie Marsan delivers a sympathetic portrayal of Winehouse’s father, Mitch, depicting him as a concerned parent navigating his daughter’s tumultuous journey.

The film also sheds light on the relentless pursuit of Winehouse by paparazzi, highlighting the darker side of fame. Despite the glamor of live performances, including a memorable Grammy link-up and a fiery Glastonbury headliner, the focus remains on Winehouse’s inner struggles.

Taylor-Johnson’s direction, coupled with Abela’s nuanced performance, captures the essence of Winehouse’s vulnerability and resilience. While ‘Back to Black’ may lack the raw intensity of previous documentaries, it succeeds in humanising Winehouse beyond tabloid sensationalism, offering a poignant tribute to her troubled soul.