judy

DIRECTOR: rupert goold (debut)
starring: renee zellweger, finn wittrock, jessie buckley, and rufus sewell

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★

Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.

 I didn't grow up with The Wizard of Oz. I know. So deprived. I have since watched it but I don't have the same nostalgic attachment to Oz or to Judy Garland. That being said Judy is an intriguing bio pic with a raw, wondrous performance from Renee Zellweger but unfortunately only appears to scratch the surface.

Thirty years after starring in "The Wizard of Oz," beloved actress and singer Judy Garland arrives in London to perform sold-out shows at the Talk of the Town nightclub. While there, she reminisces with friends and fans and begins a whirlwind romance with musician Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband.

 

The story begins with a confrontation between the young Judy and the head of the studio producing The Wizard of Oz. We are then transported to 1968 where Judy is struggling to find work and hold onto her kids so she heads off to London to work.

 

The story slips into a kind of passivity at this point. We witness her struggle with substance abuse, her broken voice and body, and her utter loneliness but it still feels that we are kept at an emotional distance. There are a couple of scenes that are really stirring as they tear at the heart strings, but they feel a little out of place compared with the rest of the film. It also felt like the second act in particular dragged making you think that they possibly could have shaved some time off the running time.

 

That being said this is Zellweger's movie and it's one of her best performances and as you know, she's had so many over her career. She embodies the raw, broken, pill addicted Judy so well that you'd swear that they were one in the same.

 

Judy is an intriguing bio pic with a raw, wondrous performance from Renee Zellweger but unfortunately only appears to scratch the surface.

★★★

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