Judy Movie Review: This Rupert Goold directorial belongs to the 'marvelous' Renée Zellweger

Judy Movie Review: Renée Zellweger delivers the performance of a lifetime as she embodies the late Judy Garland... not as the legendary artist, fans worshipped and who we fawned over on-screen but the troubled human being who just wanted to love and be loved. Read the full review of Judy below.
Judy is slated to release in India on January 24, 2020.Judy is slated to release in India on January 24, 2020.
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Judy

Judy Cast: Renée Zellweger

Judy Director: Rupert Goold

Judy Stars: 3.5/5

In the closing moments of Judy, “You won’t forget me, will you? Promise me you won’t,” an “unreliable & uninsured” Judy Garland asks with tears staining her ‘wrinkled yet full of ineffable screen presence’ face to a crowd roaring with thunderous applause post the legendary star's gut-wrenching Over The Rainbow performance. It’s that rousing moment of balance between silence and song when you realise that the iconic The Wizard of Oz song was all that Judy looked for, her entire life, which was to follow the yellow brick road and be the “fat-ankled, snag-toothed rube from Grand Rapids,” as the notorious MGM studio boss Louis B Mayer put it so kindly to a teenage Judy.

If you’re expecting the Rupert Goold directorial to be a celebration of the legendary artist, it’s not! Instead, Judy Garland is the symbolism of the dark side of the movie-making business and how you can be ripped apart from your innocence one cake or french fry at a time. There isn’t catharsis in Judy but more of a deep insight into a woman, who wanted to be human; who wanted to be loved not for her voice but for herself. And displaying those raw emotions with absolute sincerity is Renée Zellweger who delivers the performance of a lifetime. Judy is a film that relies heavily on its main star and further proves that sometimes it’s not about the production value, or the locations or the prosthetics but just an actor shining bright on centerstage that is so mesmerising, you forget where Renée ended and where Judy began.

Mind you, Zellweger’s performance at no time felt like a mimicry! In fact, when you double-take the real Judy Garland with Renée Zellweger, it’s hard to put two and two together. However, Renée does complete justice to the colourful from the outside but wrecked on the inside act with finesse. We know Ms. Garland for her effervescent personality with the voice of an angel but Renée had to play the complete opposite of that because she had to embody the real Judy. Not the Judy which the ruckus London crowd got to see one hour a night! We dig deep into the last six months before her fateful death in 1969. Troubled, in debt and always on the move... not able to give a more culturally accepted environment for her two young children as well as a drug and alcohol addict who just happens to be underweight.

While some may seem annoyed by the suspension of disbelief by interspersing Judy’s teenage years - which was hell-bent on destroying the innocence of a young girl, I for one, felt it was absolutely necessary to dig deep into why she became the victim of all the vices. It’s a heartbreaking viewpoint of the big ol' Hollywood dreams and what you have to lose in return for fame and fortune. In the blink of an eye, Dorothy Gale had to grow up and succumb to the same vices that aided her in achieving her dreams in the first place. Singing the tunes of Ms. Garland and adding her own raspiness to it, every musical number steps up the game simply for Renée’s mindfulness to Garland’s inner thoughts while performing. Whether it be the self-deprecating stance in By Myself or the reignited star quality in San Francisco. The cinematography was made easy because all eyes were on Zellweger.

ALSO READ: SAG Awards 2020: Renée Zellweger gives shout out to Tom Cruise post Judy win; compliments his professionalism

Judy is a one-woman army show but is cleverly backed by some endearing supporting performances. As Judy’s assistant Rosalyn Wilder, Jessie Buckley gives a renounced and subtle performance that’s charming while Andy Nayman and Daniel Cerqueira, as the gay couple Dan and Stan entertain delightfully. They befriend Garland one night and are the symbolic representation of the love Judy yearned for her entire life. It’s frustrating when you realise that it took two fans like Dan and Stan to make Garland realise, even if just for a while, that there were those out there she helped inspire and change the lives of. If only there was someone who inspired her to keep going. Maybe, decades later, she would have been the one singing her tunes rather than Renée Zellweger. As a child, Judy was shunned by an overbearing and over-ambitious mother and as a mother, shunned by her own kids. Seeing Judy console a sullen Dan, post their soul-stirring stripped version of Get Happy, was just one of the understated moments that make this film special. Darci Shaw, as the young Judy Garland is riveting and balances the act with Renée’s performance. However, just like Judy Garland, it didn’t matter how good you are, it’s always Judy Garland who steals the show and Renée Zellweger definitely embodies that in Judy.

Yet, the final few minutes of Judy, when Judy Garland takes the stage one last time at the Talk of the Town and belts out Somewhere Over The Rainbow, downtrodden yet full of hopeless hope, you can’t help but stutter back: We won’t forget you, Judy Garland! Renée Zellweger didn’t either.

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Comments

This was a stunning review.
Renee was magical as Judy.
Loved her in this!

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