JUDY (2019) – My rating: 8.5/10

Judy” is a biographical drama about singer and actress Judy Garland. “Judy” is directed by Rupert Goold and is an adaptation of the Olivier- and Tony-nominated West End and Broadway play “End of the Rainbow” by Peter Quilter. The film follows her 1969 arrival in London for a run of sell-out concerts at Talk of the Town.  Judy was an excellent movie that left me wanting more.

The movie opens with Judy Garland (Darci Shaw) at the age of 14 years old, being told by her studio manager, Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery), that she has a gift other girls don’t have. He tells Judy that her singing talent is nearly unmatched as she’s even able to surpass the success of Shirley Temple as a Hollywood child star. The scene then switches to Judy, now in her forties, performing with her two children from her marriage to Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell), who was her third husband. Later, Judy, tired and hungry along with her children, Lorna Luft (Bella Ramsey) and Joey Luft (Lewin Lloyd) go back to their hotel but are turned away because her credit card is no longer valid, resulting in unpaid hotel bills. Because of this, Judy and the children are forced to return home to Luft, who has since divorced her. Judy leaves her children with their father and attends a party where she meets and befriends Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock), a nightclub owner. In a flashback to Judy’s teenage years with Mickey Rooney (Gus Barry), who later became her fifth husband, her studio minder interrupts a date to give Judy amphetamines to help control her appetite. The movie returns to 1969, with Judy seeing an agent who tells her that Britain is open to her, but reception in the US has cooled, becoming unworkable due to her growing performance unreliability. Judy decides to embark for the UK, leaving her two children with Luft, which was very difficult for her.

In my time, Judy Garland was a very big deal.  We didn’t know much about her daughter, Liza Minnelli, if anything.  The “Wizard of Oz” made Judy a household name but her singing voice made her a worldwide phenomenon.  “Judy” cleverly depicts the result of her childhood as a pill-popping adult who was still trying to fill the empty void she felt as a child.  Her life was complicated, made that way by the greed of a manager and studio who really cared nothing about Judy Garland.  Her parents were not featured or mentioned.  That says it all.  During the movie, I kept insisting the artist starring as Judy Garland looked familiar but couldn’t put my finger on who she was.  When the credits rolled, I was never so shocked and embarrassed when Renée Zellweger’s name was displayed as the actress playing Judy Garland.  OMG, what a transformation and what a brilliant performance.  If Renée doesn’t get an Oscar nod, I will have lost any semblance of respect I have left for the academy.  “Judy” tells the story of Judy Garland from childhood in the USA to adulthood in London’s UK.   I completely enjoyed the movie which received positive reviews from critics, with major praise drawn towards Zellweger’s performance. As of 23 October 2019, Judy has grossed $19.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $9.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $29 million. I highly recommend “Judy” even though her story is sad, it is well told and the movie is well done. Check It Out!

 

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