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Thirty years after starring in The Wizard of Oz (1939), beloved actress and singer Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) arrives in London, England 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 (Finn Wittrock), her soon-to-be fifth husband.Written by
When Judy meets daughter Liza Minnelli at a party, Liza mentions preparing for a show. The show in question is probably meant to be "Flora the Red Menace", a musical with songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb that was Minnelli's first Broadway show, and which won her a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a musical, though it closed after eighty-seven performances. Kander and Ebb became frequent collaborators with Minnelli. See more »
Louis B. Mayer:
What do you see beyond this wall? Picture it. You've got an imagination; go ahead. What I see is a small town in the Midwest. A handful of churches, somewhere for the farmers to get drunk together. Maybe a salon for their wives to do their hair on the holidays. I visit these places. These are the people who send us our profits. Who send us your wages. I make movies, Judy, but it's your job to give those people dreams. The economy is in the gutter, and they pay for you. And I'll ...
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With Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland, you can not only feel her and see her, but you forget Zellweger is even there at all. Like many great performances, you see the character and forget that there is even an actor. Watching her performance is like watching a cosmic display. Some things are just meant to happen.
There have been many so-so bio-pics as of late, most comparably Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, in which another great actress, Benning, portrays the troubled last days of another great actress, Graham. Comparably, Zellweger's performance outshines the more renowned Benning. By contrast, Liverpool is also jaggedly uneven. That's not to say that Judy is perfect. Music bios are tough. Rami supposedly was great in Bohemian Rhapsody, but the film encompassed a superficial sentiment and lacked intellectual curiosity. Control, the Joy Division piece, is maybe the best in recent years... But Judy is right up there.
The story covers her last gig in London. The film uses flashbacks in order for the audience to understand her character. While most of those around her only see a washed up star, who was just forty seven.
What the story lacks in structure, it makes up with warmth. While this is a softer portrait, it still feels authentic. It finds no purpose in portraying her issues with callousness. Instead the narrative depends on Garland trying to understand herself, while making poor choice after poor choice. If you know anything about Garland, you know where she is going... But what you may not know, is she how she arrived there. It is a deeply sentimental portrait of a brilliant mind and troubled heart.
There have been some cynics saying that "Only a fool would try to play Garland." Dare, I say, Zellweger just made a fool out of you.
See this movie, it will remind you of yourself.
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