Back to black: impressive Marisa Abela (review)

Back to black: impressive Marisa Abela (review)

Although sanitized, this biopic on Amy Winehouse still manages to capture something of the wounded intimacy of a young girl in search of simple happiness.

Amy Winehouse (1983 – 2011) belongs to the famous Club of 27 (Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain…) without us knowing very well what this sign intends to tell us. Asif Kapadia's doc on the singer (Amy, 2015) having largely done the job, we could legitimately wonder what more a fictionalization would bring. Especially since unlike his colleges of 27, his life marked out in the air of social networks had been followed almost directly.

This overheated world (24/7 cameras, wild fans, alcohol, drugs, etc.) remains largely off-camera in a film concerned with polishing certain angles. But paradoxically this sweetening parasites the cliché to put her diva under another bell, that of her intimacy as a young girl who dreamed of being tidy (her songs do not claim anything other than simple happiness with Blake, her only love) but that his incredible talent will therefore have been disturbing.

Sam Taylor-Johnson's film thus demarcates a micro-territory where, from the small furnished apartment to the corner pub, from the recording studio to the apartment of the beloved grandmother, there are only a few steps that are enough to themselves. Amy W. then becomes a Sofia Coppola-style heroine, bothered by noises from outside. Marisa Abela who has the impossible task of playing the singer is perfect. She goes there, gives voice and reappropriates clothes that are never in full range. We will say what we want, even sanitized the whole thing retains a certain hold.

By Sam Taylor-Johnson. With Marisa Abela, Jack O'Connell, Eddie Marsan… Duration 2h02. Released April 24, 2024

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