“Judy” stars Renée Zellweger, Finn Wittrock, Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, and Michael Gambon. Released on September 27, 2019, the film chronicles Judy Garland and her five-week concert tour.
The film is directed by Rupert Goold, who also directed “True Story”, and it is an adaptation of the stageplay “End of the Rainbow” by Peter Quilter. It’s times like this where at first, you’re at the top of your game and then all of a sudden, you get bombarded by the likes of drugs, alcohol, and depression. It just goes to show that being a star isn’t always full of sunshine and rainbows. The next film I’ll be looking at today is yet another biographical drama that centers on a popular celebrity. This time, it’s based on the final days of Judy Garland, an actress/singer who is widely known for appearing in films like “The Wizard of Oz”, “Meet Me in St. Louis”, and the 1954 version of “A Star Is Born”. In addition to starring in films, she also made concert appearances and recorded several songs that have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. But alas, her stardom came at a price as it affected her both physically and mentally. During her adulthood, she was plagued by her addiction to drugs and alcohol until 1969 when she tragically died from an accidental barbiturate overdose. This is why we keep telling our kids to stay away from that kind of stuff. These things are downright deadly. I only knew this actress from “The Wizard of Oz” (which is still one of the best films from my childhood), and I actually didn’t realize that she was also a full-time singer until I saw the trailer for this film. I guess I should have realized this sooner when I saw her sing in “The Wizard of Oz”. The film already premiered last weekend and has so far gained positive reviews, with most critics praising Zellweger’s performance as Judy Garland, and this weekend, it finally made its way to my closest cinema. So if you’re wondering why it took me that long to review this film, there’s your answer. So without further ado, let’s see if this trip over the rainbow is worth taking.
The story depicts Judy Garland (Zellweger) in her 40s as she’s performing a series of sell-out concert performances in London while struggling with her personal issues, such as substance abuse and her family. Not only that, but it occasionally showcases Garland as a 14-year-old star via flashbacks. Using the familiar biopic formula, the film clearly examines how her stardom is affecting her own personal life as well as her health during the final days of her career. As expected, the film offered an interesting and suitable look at Judy Garland’s struggles, although it didn’t do anything else to make this performance as special as the character herself. It’s far from a disappointment since it had plenty of good moments to keep me engaged, but when it comes to its topic, it’s definitely far from a masterpiece. Renée Zellweger did wonders in delivering a near-perfect portrayal of the title character. Not only that, but she also has a pretty good singing voice. The other actors were also good in their roles, including Finn Wittrock and Michael Gambon as Mickey Deans and Bernard Delfont, respectively. While the dramatic elements weren’t able to dig even deeper into the film’s themes, the concert sequences made up for those mistakes thanks to Rupert Goold’s direction and its glamouring sense of ecstatic and color. It definitely felt like I was actually watching some of her concert performances in the late 60s, so major props to the filmmakers for creating that feeling.
Overall, “Judy” didn’t shine as bright as the character herself, but it has enough glamour and charm to carry this concert performance forward with ease. Despite its familiar formula and its weak exploration of its topic, the film is bolstered by Zellweger’s performance and its concert sequences. Not fantastic, but not overly disappointing either. If you’re wondering why this review is so short and straight to the point, it’s because I really don’t have that much to say about it. Plus, I saw this film after “Joker” and my mind was set on that film rather than this one. Hope this review helps either way.