review by Bobby Blakey
There are actresses in Hollywood that have elevated from movie star to icon with Judy Garland no doubt being one of them. Her role as Dorthy in 1939s The Wizard of Oz is still a beloved role and movie to this day. While most known for that role she had a big career that included a show years after taking a walk down the yellow brick road. Now Renée Zellweger is taking on the role of Garland in the film Judy costarring Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, and Michael Gambon. Could this film do this icon of Hollywood justice or will it fail to hit the right note?
Judy follows showbiz legend Judy Garland who arrives in Swinging London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in The Wizard of Oz, but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of love seem undimmed as she embarks on a whirlwind romance with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. Featuring some of her best-known songs, the film celebrates the voice, the capacity for love, and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.”
I knew going in that this wasn’t going to be a full on life story but instead just this portion of her life and career. This meant that we were going to be dealing with a lot less glamor and more struggle and heartbreak. The film itself is good although I found it a bit slow at times, but I think that falls into the mundane of real life more so than anything else. That doesn’t make the film any less interesting I guess I just hoped for more giving the big personality of its subject. That being said the real reason this film stands up on stage bigger than it might have otherwise is Renee Zellweger who gives
easily one if not the best performance of her career.
Zellweger is all in here and fully becomes Garland in both look and performance. She brings everything needed to capture the essence of Garland in general, but even more so during this time of her life and career that was not an easy time. Garland had a unique singing and speaking voice and I felt that Zellweger fully captured them to perfection. It was a true treat to see her take on this role and my only complaint with her is that I wish I had been able to see her take on other facets of Garland’s life.
The rest of the cast is good and the costuming, stage designs and visuals of the time are great helping to further enhance the performance that could have stood all alone. Any accolades and/or nomination Zellweger may receive leading up to and at Oscar time is fully deserved and one I hope gets recognized.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including trailer, image gallery and behind the scenes featurette that takes you behind bringing this icons story to life. Grab your copy of Judy available now on digital and then on Blu-ray and DVD on December 24th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.