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October 14, 2019

Judy (2019) --- "The Legend Behind The Rainbow.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     It’s 1969, 30 years after starring in the iconic Wizard of Oz (1939), beloved actress and singer Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) arrives in London to perform sold-out shows at the Talk of the Town nightclub in her desperate attempt to pay off her debts and settle down with her kids. Follow the last year of her life as she reminisces with friends and fans, begins a whirlwind romance with her soon-to-be fifth husband (Finn Wittrock), and battles substance abuse that threatens to destroy everything she holds dear. 
     Directed by Rupert Goold (King Charles III), written by Tom Edge (The Crown, Lovesick) and adapted from the award-nominated play End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter, Judy (2019) is a biopic drama that not only tells the story of Judy’s last year but it also touches on how her traumatic childhood impacted her adult life and subsequently led to her young and untimely death. It is a dramatic, funny, and self-aware about the grim conclusion to a life defined by addiction, depression, self-sabotage, abuse, and pain. The film takes no shortcuts nor does it apologies for packing on the melodrama and points out how Judy gave her fans a license to emote but also failed in keeping her unruly emotions in check - expressing them in a controlled and healthy way. She was hesitant and this caused her to make rash decisions that had their fair share of consequences. She was also a monster at times but after you hear her heartbreaking story none of that matters anymore. There were times when this was a quiet, reflective and tenderly emotional drama, and then there were times when it was a big theatrical piece that doesn’t hold back with the music or the darker parts of her story. It’s a beautiful and yet tragic film that shows you the darker side of show business and takes you one step closer towards understanding more about the iconic Judy Garland.
    The cast performances are solid and have a lot of character depth. Renée Zellweger (Chicago, Cold Mountain, Bridgett Jones’ Baby) was the perfect choice to play Judy Garland. Not only does she embodies the essence of Judy Garland and make you forget that Zellweger even existed but she also provides the character’s singing voice. Darci Shaw (The Bay) was great as the young Judy Garland and was able to demonstrate how a young and pressured Judy Garland might have felt. Other supporting characters like Finn Wittrock (The Big Short) as Mickey Deans, Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl) as Rosalyn Wilder, Royce Pierreson (The Witcher) as Burt, Andy Nyman (The Commuter, Death at a Funeral) and Daniel Cerqueira (The Spanish Princess) as Dan and Stan, Richard Cordery (Madame Bovary) as Louis B. Mayer, and John Dagleish (Christopher Robin) as Lonnie Donegan were great in their respective roles and provided complimentary performances to Zellweger’s. In addition, Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle), Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones), and Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) were surprising additions to the film.

     Overall, Judy (2019) a biopic drama about the last year of Judy Garland’s life. It is a tragically beautiful story about the grim conclusion to a life defined by addiction, depression, self-sabotage, abuse, and pain. In addition, there are flashbacks added throughout that give insight and explanation into the dark side of show business and how it negatively impacted the life of Judy Garland and later led to her early death. We see how she tried to fight her demons and failed, perhaps if she had confided in someone what she was really going through then maybe she would have gotten the help she so desperately needed. The cast performances were solid, but the most noteworthy comes from Renée Zellweger who effectively embodied the essences of Judy Garland both in her mannerisms and speech as well as with her singing, which she did live. The rest of the performances complimented hers and helped round out the story. All in all, this is an incredible film that I highly recommend that everyone should see, as it gives audiences a chance to see a little bit more about an iconic person in cinematic history.

Final Vote --- 8.3 of 10 stars

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