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
Judy asks Mickey Rooney a question and he begins his answer with the word "So,...". Prefixing an answer like this is a 21st century affectation and would never have been done in the 1930s. 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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Sometimes an entire movie boils down to a lead performance, and JUDY is one of those examples. Fortunately, Renee Zellweger is more than up to to the challenge. Zellweger does more than just an imitation here - sure, the ticks and mannerisms that have been copied and parodied for decades are all on display, but, the actress goes for, and largely, attains several more layers.
The script follows the "Last Days" scenario seen in so many bio-pics. The doomed character. The flashbacks. The final triumph. The various side characters who represent assorted people throughout that person's life etc. etc..
Still Zellweger is strong enough to overcome most of the cliches. The rest of the cast does well, but outside of Jessie Buckley as her London assistant, they don't get much to do (Michael Gambon in particular has, almost literally, nothing to do). The Production, music (nice to hear a new Gabriel Yared score), and, most critically, the makeup and hair all work to give us a fairly convincing glimpse of Garland's final months in 1969. Theater Director Rupert Goold keeps the viewer focused on his main character despite some melodramatic passages in Tom Edge's screenplay (based on Peter Quilter's play). The nicest touch is a scene with a male couple (Andy Nyman and Daniel Cerqueira) get to spend a night hosting Judy in London. It's a warm human moment that also pays homage to Garland's relationship with the gay community (a status that she bequeathed to her daughter Liza).
Zellweger delivers a strong performance that keeps JUDY moving along, if not always smoothly.
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