Renée Zellweger is already tipped for an Oscar for her passionate portrayal of Judy Garland. But her performance is just as half-baked and not very subtle JUDY (2019) yourself. We’ll reveal why in our review of the film.
Renée Zellweger plays Judy Garland.
The plot summary
Five sold-out weeks of concerts in Swinging London! In the winter of 1968, the British capital was looking forward to the appearance of show legend Judy Garland in the prominent West End theater “The Talk of the Town”. It’s been 30 years since the premiere of the classic film “The Wizard of Oz”, which made her world famous, and her voice may have lost a little of its charisma – but she can still count on her gift for dramatic productions. And her fine sense of humor and her warmth of heart distinguish her like no other, in the preparations for the show, in meetings with friends and loyal fans as well as in the disputes with management. Even her dream of one great love still seems unbroken after four marriages and so she plunges into a wild romance with Mickey Deans, her future fifth husband…
Judy Movie Meaning & ending
The fact that Renée Zellweger is on everyone’s lips again these days is due to her portrayal of Judy Garland in the biopic “Judy” of the same name. A real casting coup, because the actress, who once became known for “Bridget Jones – Chocolate for Breakfast”, recently made headlines mainly due to the massive neurotoxin intervention on her face and less with engagements in high-quality feature films; quite the opposite. Most recently she was seen in the kitsch church drama “Just as different as I” and her strenuous overacting marked a massive weak point in this already badly failed schmoon. A memorable performance as Judy Garland, possibly even crowned with awards (she already has the Golden Globe nomination for best actress in her pocket, and the Oscar proposal isn’t far away) – something like that would come for Zellweger Rehabilitation straight away. But it’s a little questionable where these hymns of praise come from when Zellweger makes her Judy Garland a caricature of herself in what is actually a pretty tragic biopic. At least it stands out from the monotony of Hollywood drama so much that you at least remember something after leaving the cinema.
Studio boss Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery) and Judy Garland (Darci Shaw).
The actress and singer Judy Garland, who became known to audiences around the world as a minor through her participation in “The Wizard of Oz,” has been honored with all sorts of awards throughout her career. The rise of the later superstar was rocket-like; At some point the whole world knew the lines she sang to “Somewhere over the Rainbow” – but hardly anyone knew the real story behind these lovely sounds. In his film , director Rupert Goold (“True Story – Game for Power”) repeatedly plays with the large discrepancy between external perception and what is actually happening behind the scenes. It also fits that the first scene of “Judy” takes place against the fairytale backdrop of the “Oz” film set, in which MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery) is just informing his rising star Judy Garland that he would find a replacement for the girl at any time if she didn’t do what was asked of her. Tough negotiations against a picturesque backdrop – this stark contrast creates the greatest appeal in the scenes with the young Judy Garland (played by Darci Shaw). Especially when the young girl tries to rebel against her many guardians and managers at an early age and is always caught between the desire for a carefree childhood and the pursuit of a Hollywood career. Series star Darci Shaw (“The Bay”) achieves this emotional balancing act brilliantly in her first film role.
But unfortunately screenwriter Tom Edge (“The Crown”), who wrote the script based on the play “End of the Rainbow” by Peter Quilter, is not aware of the strengths of his material. Instead of dedicating himself to the initial acting phase and thus the emotional conflict of the young Judy Garland, he only jumps back into the past for a few individual scenes. They are the clear highlights in a biopic that chooses Garland’s post-success phase as its narrative focus; i.e. one in which the character’s course has long been set. Garland’s portrayal may be closely based on her actual attitude (and if you look at old recordings of Judy Garland, you can see how meticulously Renée Zellweger must have appropriated the gestures and facial expressions of the former Hollywood idol – it’s a shame that she lost them in the process radically exceeds the limits of overacting several times). At the same time, the woman in her own biopic pours out a mixture of self-pity, hatred and the greatest possible naivety; a serious difference to the young woman who stood up for herself and her own ideals early on and who, whenever possible, rebelled against the strict filming (and therefore life) requirements as a teenager. The main focus is on Judy Garland as a wailing hysteric; Only rarely does the story get through to everything that must have shaped this woman over the decades. And even for her unexpected talent, her dazzling charisma on stage, the glitz and glamour, you don’t get much of a sense of it in “Judy”, as it’s more about how Garland alienated her audience and the people around her time and time again. As laudable as this approach to a character portrait, which does not canonize its own main character, may be, it is still half-baked. “Judy” seems more like a reckoning and not like a nuanced examination of a complex character.
Renée Zellweger’s undoubtedly passionate but thoroughly unsuccessful embodiment of Judy Garland fits into this clumsy figure depiction. The actress, who is already hardly capable of mature facial expressions due to the amount of Botox, puts all of her physicality into the performance – perhaps to some extent as a counterbalance – but always spans the spectrum from the grandly gesticulating Hollywood diva to the overzealous fury so massively, that only in the very small, interpersonal-emotional moments, for example between her and her children, can you find scenes here and there in which you really have the feeling that it is not the parody version of Judy Garland that is standing in front of you, but rather her herself. Although the adult Garland has already captivated people on stage with a slightly affected gesture, when performed by Zellweger, who strenuously re-enacts this, it seems rather silly in its artificiality. Zellweger plays a lot, but not well – and the former is often a reason for film award juries to award actors with nominations and awards. In the end, you can’t shake the feeling that the makers didn’t want to leave their main character a good thing. And when they want to create something like a cinematic monument to her in the very last scene, they confuse dripping kitsch with real feeling. This makes “Judy” a theatrical disaster that may be well-intentioned, but triggers something that one could hardly have imagined with this subject matter: after just a few minutes, you no longer want to spend any time with the Judy Garland portrayed here.
Conclusion: Apart from the fact that Renée Zellweger makes Judy Garland like a parody, the former megastar doesn’t come off well in his biopic. Rupert Goold’s film is superficial and focuses on stages in the singer’s life that hardly or not at all reveal why she had so many fans around the world.
“Judy” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from January 2nd.