Review: Judy

Promise you won't forget me.

Show business has not been kind to one of its biggest stars and Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger)is forced to move to London to do a string of shows in 1968 in order to earn enough money to give her children a stable home. 

Everyone knows who Judy Garland is but just how deeply? I can admit that I don't know everything about her. Sure, I knew about her life in broad strokes, I've seen a handful of her movies and listened to her music, but I've never read a biography or watched a documentary on her. So in that aspect, I didn't have any expectations for how they told Judy's story. That worked in my favor as the film follows a very standard biopic formula.

The one thing I was worried about going in was Zellweger. With the way the trailer was cut, it gave me the impression that she was going to be pulling a face the entire movie to try to make herself look like Garland, and that wasn't the case. The makeup and her acting were not distracting at all. In fact, she was wonderful. I love that she did her own singing too. She's not as strong as Judy. How many people are? But she tried. Anyone could've lip synced, but she went for it.

Where the film lacks is the context around Garland's life. We know it's specifically about her time in London, but the flashbacks they chose are also very specific to the Wizard of Oz, and I felt like they should've chosen to show more of her life besides that. It would've painted a better picture just how far Judy fell. It certainly hints at it, but seeing her on sets of her other films would've been a nice touch.

The supporting acts are slightly uneven. There's a beautiful story with a gay couple that comes to see Judy's shows that is the highlight of the film, but then there's her relationship with her stage manager that I felt could've been explored more. I kept expecting a heart to heart conversation to happen and it never did. It was just kind of there.

Ultimately, this was pretty good. If you are a hardcore Judy fan, you may find it a bit lacking but if you're somewhere in the middle, it should work for you.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Do you have kids? Don't. It's like living with a piece of your heart outside of your body." - Judy (Renee Zellweger)

14 comments:

  1. I’m planning to see this tomorrow and am looking forward to it. I have read books on her life and know a bit about her life, her issues with her mom, her marriages and affairs. She was a major screw up with money never mind other things. It will be good to see,

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! Can't wait to hear what you think.

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    2. I saw it and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was excellent because it is more of a case study of this very tragic figure. It’s pretty true to her life, the last few months. RenĂ©e got all her mannerisms down to a tee.

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  2. I'll wait for it on TV as that is the most likely thing that it will happen yet I'm glad to know that it is at least a good film. I admit to not being a fan of Renee Zellweger but I'm intrigued to see what she does in this film.

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    1. I'm usually not either. I've never gone out of my way to see a Zellweger movie but she's good here.

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  3. This looks so goddamn depressing but I'm glad Zellweger got praise, she didn't have the happiest of lives herself

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    1. It's actually not as depressing as it could've been. It didn't go DC Universe dark on us. lol

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  4. I haven't seen much of Renee Zellweger's work outside of Bridget Jones but this is something I definitely want to see! I shamefully know next to nothing about Judy too so at the very least it'll be an educating experience for me, ha.

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    1. You do learn something! I always appreciate that about a biopic when I'm not familiar with the subject.

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  5. I’m a huge Judy fan-I’ve seen all her films (if you haven’t seen her A Star is Born it’s a must), have several of her albums (the Carnegie Hall live album gives a great sense of what she was like in concert) and read several biographies (the two best-Get Happy by Gerald Clarke and Lorna Luft’s Me and My Shadows which gives a great sense of what those later years with Judy were like and what being the child of a legend (and sister of another) is like. The mini-series that was made of that book starring Judy Davis is also worthwhile.

    That said I sincerely doubt that I’ll ever see this movie. If it was almost any other actress (except Nicole Kidman or Juliette Lewis) but Zellweger, who I find completely resistible, I would have a little interest though this last chapter in Judy’s life was a very sad winding down-from what her doctors have said if not for the accidental overdose she still would have been gone within the year since her body was shutting down from the years of abuse. The idea of RZ doing her own singing doesn’t offend me because at one time I owned the vinyl of this Talk of the Town engagement and while there were flashes of Judy’s magic and magnetism her voice was more or less in tatters and she came across as very frail so any differences from the classic Garland would make sense.

    Perhaps curiosity will win over some day but since the vehicle surrounding the performance has only received tepid response I’m no hurry.

    To end on a much more positive note here are three minutes of magic that show the essence of the latter day Judy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GUP7bsDPXg

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    1. It's not bad so if your curiosity does get the best of you, there's that. I normally don't like Zellweger. I can't say I've ever been wowed by her, but she's good here.

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  6. OMG, I'm SO happy my recommendation didn't fail you, especially since you're not a hardcore Judy fan. lol No one is going to sing like Judy, and unlike Me and My Shadows CRINGEWORTHY lipsyncing by Judy Davis, I was super happy with Renee's mannerisms and attempt at singing live. She's my go-to pick for Best Actress right now. I agree the movie could've had more context to her life leading up to Talk of the Town. I don't know if you saw my thread, but I tried to add more about why her appearance was so important if you want to check it out. https://twitter.com/katyrochelle/status/1185608831289774082

    Overall, I think you know how much I enjoyed it lol, even if it could've been spruced up in my certain places. I was dreading this would get a D-rating for weeks. lol

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    1. Thank you for linking that. Twitter's algorithm has been a joke lately. It's showing me people's likes first and I HATE It. I'll read through that now.

      I'm glad you enjoyed it too and I'm so happy my early reservations were wrong. lol

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