Run time: 115 MINS
Director: Rupert Goold
Cast: René Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, Finn Wittrock, Michael Gambon,Richard Cordery, Andy Nyman, Daniel Cerqueira
Synopsis: Winter 1968 and showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in Swinging London to perform in a sell-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 romance seem undimmed as she embarks on a courtship with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. And yet Judy is fragile. After working for 45 of her 47 years, she is exhausted; haunted by memories of a childhood lost to Hollywood; gripped by a desire to be back home with her kids. Will she have the strength to go on?
Director Rupert Goold [True Story (2015); King Charles III (2017)], backed up by a strong screenplay from Tom Edge (based on Peter Quilter’s stage play End of Rainbow) brings us this new sparkling biopic.
Renée Zellweger astounds in a deeply committed, bravura performance as the legendary singer Judy Garland in her sad last months – broke, anxious, drunk and sorrowful. Zellweger succeeds in conveying a compassion which is sure to carve a route to multiple awards.
Judy is set in Winter 1968 when showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in ‘swinging London’ to perform in a sell-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is thirty years since she shot to global stardom in The Wizard of Oz.
As she prepares for the show, she resiliently battles with management, charms the musicians, and reminisces with friends and adoring fans. Despite constant exhaustion, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of romance seem undimmed as she embarks on a courtship with Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) her soon-to-be fifth husband. But she is fragile and frequently haunted by memories of her abusive Hollywood childhood at the hands of bullying Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery) and gripped by a desire to be back home with her children whom she has been forced to leave with ex-husband, Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell).
The film features some of Garland’s best-known songs, with the special treat of a duet with Rufus Wainwright. A strong ensemble cast includes Michael Gambon, Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, and Andy Nyman and Daniel Cerqueira (as a doting, persecuted gay couple). This is a sympathetic biopic capturing the spirit and tenacity of an American showbiz great.
Just in time for the 50th anniversary of Judy Garland’s death, René Zellweger’s elegant and poised performance and passionate singing ensure that this film hits all the right notes.
Images courtesy of: PATHE