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Back to Black

Intriguingly "Back to Black" seems to be a film that is finding little consensus amongst the professional reviewers. I found the central performance excellent, but wonder if it's decision to, perhaps realistically, not portray anyone as the villain of the story, hurts its entertainment value.A prodigiously talented singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse (Marisa Abela) has a growing reputation and a hit album. Before starting work on the next album, she meets Blake Fielder-Civil (Jack O'Connell) in a Camden bar and the pair begin a relationship. Already struggling with Bulimia and alcoholism, Blake's own hedonistic lifestyle sends the pair into a spiral of violence and addiction. When they break up, Amy's pain forms the basis for the songs on "Back to Black" her second album, which has worldwide success.I think Marisa Abela is great as Amy. I know her from the BBC series "Industry" and her performance here, which includes her singing impression is maybe reason enough to see the film. In fact, it might be the only reason to see the film. Maybe that's a touch unfair, the performances from O'Connell, Eddie Marsan as her father Mitch and Lesley Manville as her grandmother Cynthia are all decent, even if none of them stretch much beyond what we've seen them do before. (In fact, I'd really like to see O'Connell play something other than a swaggering, self-destructive character).The consensus narrative that has been told about Winehouse is that Fielder-Civil was the junkie that dragged poor Amy down and that Mitch sacrificed his daughter's health in order to not risk her success. Both ideas are present in the film, though it paints neither as the villain. Perhaps that's realistic, certainly it doesn't rob Amy of agency in her own story, but I did, at times, feel a little bored by what the film chose to present. It's quite long, at two hours, and whilst her talent was prodigious, maybe her life story wasn't full of as many different types of experiences as would justify this films existence.I don't think the film adds up to enough for me to recommend it, which is a shame for Abela, who is really giving her all.