Judy (2019) – Review

Judy opens September 27 in theaters.

By Rachel M.

While this new film about Judy Garland only focuses on the last two years of her life, through periodic flashbacks we come to understand how her rise to stardom as a young girl affected the rest of her life. Renee Zellweger gives a gripping performance, portraying Judy as a victim, as a result of the treatment from Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery), of MGM, beginning with the “The Wizard of Oz.” Habits like strict dieting and addictions to pills wrecked and haunted her for life.

Starting in 1969, Garland must leave her two younger children with her ex-husband to go perform in London in order to make some money since she is destitute. We watch her spiral downward while trying desperately to perform a nightly act at The Talk of the Town. Roslyn (Jessie Buckley), the woman who has been assigned to assist Judy, often has to dress her and get her sober enough to go out on stage. What’s truly unbelievable is that once she gets there, she can often perform perfectly. Zellweger gives a few lovely performances of standard Garland numbers.

This tragic story is compounded by Judy’s last relationship with Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock). Based on the play, “End of the Rainbow,” the film illustrates Judy’s need to be loved, so much so that she marries Deans out of both financial and emotional desperation. The marriage is short-lived, and Judy remains very much alone. She desires human connection and the film has a wonderful section where she spends an evening with an older gay couple who are adoring fans.

One poignant scene in the film is when Judy realizes she will have to allow her children to remain with her ex, Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell). She calls her daughter from London, and gives her permission to say that she wants to stay with her father. It pains Garland, but she knows it is the right decision. The film depicts Garland as a sympathetic but pitiful character.

Even though many already know the end to this story, the film’s finale is touching and a beautiful tribute to a woman many people loved.

I give Judy an A-.

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