by Michael Renouf
Judy starts with Judy Garland as an innocent little girl on a set for MGM and then fast forwards to the late 60s when she is broke, homeless, and scrambling for work, the whole time with her two youngest children in tow.
Reluctantly she agrees to go to London to perform, the reluctance is because this means she will have to leave her offspring behind in the care of their father, ex husband number three, Sidney Luft.
The movie shows in flashback how Judy became reliant on prescription medicine when MGM studios gave her pills to keep her awake, help her sleep and keep her weight down during the making of the legendary Wizard of Oz, which was released 80 years ago.
Once in England she performs at The Talk of the Town and everything gets off to a flying start but Frances Ethel Gumm being Judy Garland this will never last and we soon see why the American audiences have grown tired of Dorothy, who is now unreliable and dependent on alcohol and pharmaceuticals.
Renée Zellweger gives an exceptional performance — and also sings — as the icon who seemed to despise what the business had done to her yet was addicted to it, especially the adoration from her audiences. While on one hand you cannot help feel sorry for her on the other she was unable or unwilling to look in the mirror and do anything about it. Whilst in London she marries husband number five, who one minute she is clinging to like a fat bloke to a kebab at two o’ clock in the morning and the next wants to lose him as quickly as a criminal wants to get rid of the squad car they can see in the rear view mirror.
When awards season roles around Zellweger’s name has to be in the frame but that aside there was not much else to recommend this film, unlike say Bohemian Rhapsody or Rocketman where although the actors in the lead roles were excellent, there was so much more appeal to the movies. Having said that, the final scene is superb and gives a glimpse of what this film could and should have been. This is one more for Judy Garland fans rather than the casual moviegoer.
For this week’s star of the show there is absolutely no contest, take a bow Miss Zellweger.
3 out of 5 stars.
When awards season roles around Zellweger’s name has to be in the frame but there's not much else to recommend about this film
Renée Zellweger gives an exceptional performance — and also sings — as the icon who seemed to despise what the business had done to her yet was addicted to it.