Judy is a 2019 biographical film directed by Rupert Goold and stars Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell and Michael Gambon. The film follows Judy Garland’s career during the last year of her life when she moved her stage career to England and worsening of her health.
Though the film is about the last year of her life, it does make flashbacks to her start out in Hollywood as a child star under her boss Louis B. Mayer and the abuse she received from him, his wife and her mother. The film goes into detail about her weight issues that started when she landed her first film role as a child, her drug and alcohol abuse, her five marriages, her depression, insomnia, chain smoking, bankruptcy, homelessness and parental rights. You learn about how her growing up played a part in her health as an adult and how it had an affect on her daughter Liza Minnelli, who has struggled with drugs and alcohol and been married several times herself (but has gotten help).
Although Renee Zellweger is too tall to be Judy, since Garland was only 4’11,” and whether she actually sings or not, she still, along with her acting, portrays her outstandingly. At first I was skeptical about Zellweger playing Judy, but this film proved me completely wrong. Maybe the director could have found a 4’11” actress or someone around that height, but they probably wouldn’t have been nearly as good as Renée, who deserved every award she has won for this film.
Jessie Buckley is very good as Rosalyn Wilder, Judy’s production assistant in London. Finn Wittrock is excellent as Mickey Deans, Judy’s fifth and final husband, who was much younger than her and they were married less than a year, although they had known each other for years. Rufus Sewell is great as Sidney Luft, Garland’s third husband and father of their kids Lorna and Johnny. Michael Gambon is equally great as Bernard Delfont, a Russian born British theatrical impresario.
Although Judy Garland, like many celebrities, had an extremely troubled life, she is still an icon and still loved to this day. This film chronicles her life during the filming of The Wizard of Oz and the final year before her death at 47. She lives on in her films and music.
This fantastic movie shows the abuse such an iconic celebrity experiences as a child and their addictions they go through as a teenager and adult and the downward spiral of their life that leads to accidental young death. Despite all of the darkness of Judy Garland’s life and how she sometimes seemed like a mean, selfish person, it was her harsh childhood and drug and alcohol dependency that her made her that way. She wanted to stop, wanted to change, tried to, but was far too addicted and affected by her youth.
Though some elements of this biopic may be fictional, it is still an exceptional film. Zellweger shines throughout, though I would have liked to have seen more of Judy as a child and her early acting career under Louis B. Mayer. I also would liked there have been more of adult Judy in America, but I know that’s not what this film is about. Other than that is a 4/5 18+