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Everything You Need to Know About Amy Winehouse Biopic Back to Black

The Amy Winehouse biopic hits theaters May 17. 

By James Grebey
JaRae Womack's Gorgeous Voice Gets Four Chairs on Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" | The Voice Blinds

A legendary musician is getting the big screen biopic treatment as Amy Winehouse, the late, great singer of songs like “You Know I’m No Good,” “Rehab,” and “Valerie,” is the subject of a new film about her life. Back to Black, in theaters next month, tells the story of Winehouse, the English singer with a distinctive voice who blended genres like soul, reggae, R&B, and jazz. Although she only released two albums before her tragic, early death in 2011 at age 27, the mark Winehouse left on music is undeniable. 

Back to Black, from Sam Taylor-Johnson, director of movies like Fifty Shades of Grey and A Million Little Pieces, opens in theaters on May 17. Here’s everything you need to know about the film.

What Is Back to Black About?

Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse and Jack O'Connell as Blake Fielder-Civil in Back To Black

Rather than tell the story of Winehouse’s life from the cradle to the grave, Back to Black focuses on the start of her singing career, before she recorded her second album from which the movie borrows its title. It shows how Winehouse first made it big and got a record contract after being discovered in London jazz clubs. It also follows her troubled relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, her on-again, off-again boyfriend and eventual husband. The problems in their relationship and their eventual divorce would inspire Back to Black, Winehouse’s acclaimed sophomore — and final — album.  

RELATED: Miley Cyrus' Raw Spin on Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" Is Just Short of Perfect

Here’s the official synopsis, per Focus Features

“The extraordinary story of Amy Winehouse’s early rise to fame from her early days in Camden through the making of her groundbreaking album, Back to Black that catapulted Winehouse to global fame. Told through Amy’s eyes and inspired by her deeply personal lyrics, the film explores and embraces the many layers of the iconic artist and the tumultuous love story at the center of one of the most legendary albums of all time.”

Who Are the Stars of Back to Black?

Marisa Abela as Amy Winehouse in back to black

Marisa Abela, an English actress known for her role in the ongoing HBO series Industry, plays Winehouse. Abela sings in the movie, having worked with a vocal coach to help perfect Winehouse’s signature raspy voice. Jack O'Connell, known for his roles in the British show Skins and movies like Eden Lake, Starred Up, Unbroken, and Money Monster, plays Fielder-Civil. 

Eddie Marsan, whose credits include Happy Go Lucky and the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes, plays Winehouse’s father, Mitch Winehouse, while Juliet Cowan plays her mom, Janis Winehouse. Lesley Manville, star of movies like Phantom Thread, Another Year, and Mr. Turner, plays Winehouse’s grandmother, Cynthia. 

Does Back to Black Feature Amy Winehouse’s Music?

Back to Black was made with the approval of Winehouse’s family, and it features several of her songs, with Abela providing the vocals. Nick Cave recorded a new song, titled "Song for Amy," which appears on the soundtrack. 

Back to Black opens in theaters on May 17.

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