Back to Black

NZ release: 02 May 2024

Violence, offensive language, drug use and sex scenes Rated on: 22 April 2024

Back to Black poster

What’s it about?

A biopic based on the life of UK singer Amy Winehouse. It follows Amy’s musical journey and her relationships with her family and lovers as she struggles with fame and addiction.

The facts

  • Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson
  • English language
  • Runtime: 122 minutes

Why did it get this rating?

This film was classified by Te Mana Whakaatu—Classification Office. You can find out more about the classification process and ratings here.

Offensive language

Swearing throughout the film is often used during heated or angry moments. Offensive words include “sh*t” are sung during a song, as well as “f**k’s sake”, “I ain’t no f**king Spice Girl”, and “those c**ts”.

Drug use

Amy’s struggles with drug addiction are shown in the film as a journey from social drinking and smoking (cigarettes and weed) through to excessive drinking and use of harder drugs. Later in the story she identifies as an addict and asks her dad to take her to rehab.

There is smoking throughout the film, which at times looks cool because of the character smoking.

A character snorts white powder which Amy initially makes fun of: “Class A drugs are for mugs”.

As Amy’s addictions grow, we see the ugly side of addiction: she wakes up on the floor of her apartment clearly hung over from drugs and alcohol.

We see someone deliver ‘rocks’, and then we see her smoking a substance in a pipe. We also see Amy gifted a jewellery box by her boyfriend which actually contains ‘rocks’, or crystal meth, to be smoked.


Amy punches and scratches her boyfriend Blake while drunk. The marks and cuts are seen on his face in more than one scene. We also see her shove people and paparazzi in public when she’s being followed.

Sex scenes and nudity

There are some brief sex scenes. Amy is portrayed as confident in seeking out boys and having casual sex. In one we see a man kissing down a woman’s torso between her breasts.

In another scene we see a naked couple skinning dipping in a pool – there is a brief glimpse of nipples and pubic hair. Police raid the couple’s home while they’re naked in bed. We see the man’s butt as he jumps out of bed.

Content that may disturb

Amy’s struggles with an eating disorder, self-harm and addiction are shown in the film through her bulimia and her use of drugs and alcohol to cope with her fame and relationship troubles. We see her throwing up in the toilet after a night out. Her flatmate briefly comments on being annoyed at always being woken by the noise of her vomiting.

When someone comments with concern at how thin she is, she responds proudly: “I got a new diet. Is it working?”


The drug use and self-destructive behaviours shown in the film may impact people who have gone through similar experiences. If you are struggling with what you have seen on-screen please reach out for help. If you or someone you know needs to talk:

Further information

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