You never truly know the depths of what is hidden behind a smile…until, you do.
Judy brings us the biographical drama about the legendary actress/singer Judy Garland and gives us insight on what really went on behind the scenes. The film is an adaptation of the Tony-nominated West End and Broadway play End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter. In the film, Garland is played by Renee Zellweger, who also won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal on the beloved icon.
The film opens on a young Judy on the Wizard of Oz set talking to a man who is informing her of her duty and telling her that she needed to use her unique voice because it was going to be her key to success. He gives her a pep talk about her future as they walk along the set as she looks at him with hopeful eyes. Young Judy looks so naïve at this point and you can’t help but fear for what’s to come for her. The film then cuts to Judy 30 years later, who has just performed with her two kids, but when she gets to her hotel to check back in, she’s turned away due to nonpayment. She ends up having to go to her ex-husband, Sidney Luft’s (Rufus Sewell) place, who is also the father of their children, for a place to stay for the night. She isn’t welcomed but the kids are and we learn through their heated conversation that Judy was difficult to work with and is unable to provide for her children. Sid reveals that he wants custody but Judy doesn’t agree with it.
We’re then taken back to Young Judy where she is interrupted while on a date and is given amphetamines to help control her appetite by a woman set to watch over her. She’s given these so that she doesn’t gain weight while filming Wizard of Oz, but through these flashbacks we also continue to learn that the pills also keep her from sleeping so that she can maintain a schedule. When we’re brought back to the present, Judy meets with an agent who tells her that though she can’t find work in the US due to people not wanting to work with her, the UK was open to book her, so she goes to the UK for work, leaving her kids with their father. It’s very hard for her but she knows she has to do it, in order to build a life for them again. Her interactions with her kids is both sweet and heartbreaking throughout the film, though you can tell they all love each other very much, her daughter can tell she has an addiction to the pills she continuously takes.
As soon as Judy is in the UK and is about to have her London premiere, she already shows us how unreliable she is. Her substance abuse causing her to almost cancel her show. She ends up getting helped by an assistant who gets he ready and gets her on stage, which Judy kills! It’s like when it’s time to put on a show, she delivers, it’s almost as if she transforms into a different person once in the spotlight. However, we continue to see her struggle with her addiction, it not making things any better for her when she gets the call that Sid is suing her for custody of the kids and that the kids want to remain living with him in the US.
Judy ends up marrying her 5th husband, Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock), a night club owner she met months prior in the US who had come to visit her. We then learn that he isn’t as financially stable as he presented himself, which traps Judy into staying in the UK longer just to make ends meet. She passes out during the following performance which is when she decides to end her shows, but agrees to do one final night on stage. She does an amazing performance of “Over the Rainbow” where she starts to break down but with the praise given by the fans, her mood and drive is picked up and she finishes the performance proudly. She exits her show with the final words, “You won’t forget me, will you? Promise you won’t.” Judy passed away 6 months after that performance. I thought it was the perfect way to end the film, because no Judy, we won’t forget you. Even though watching her struggle throughout the entire film was a bit heartbreaking, it was very interesting seeing the reality of her journey and truth. Zellweger did such an amazing job as Judy, mastering the haunted and lost look in her eyes when she’s clearly struggling mentally but trying to keep it together on the outside. The Oscar was well deserved and I definitely recommend the film, especially because it gives you a glimpse of how it could be in Hollywood behind the scenes.
Release Date: October 4, 2019
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock , Rufus Sewell
Director: Rupert Goold
Distributor: LD Entertainment & Roadside Attractions and 20th Century Fox
Genre: Biography | Drama | Romance
Runtime: 1h 58min
Official Website: https://www.judythefilm.com/
Official Social Media Pages:
IMDB Page: @Judy
Wiki Link: @Judy
Stephanie Rosas | Writing Contributor
B.A | TV, Film & Media | Cal State Univ – LA
Stephanie just graduated this past May at California State University – Los Angeles and received her bachelor’s degree in Television, Film & Media. She also has an Associates Degree in Film Studies and Liberal Arts. Though there isn’t enough time to watch every movie and TV show in the universe, she manages to find a way to watch as many as possible. When she’s not binge-watching something, she’s collecting nerdy memorabilia, writing in her free time, taking care of her baby sister, or cooking up new keto recipes for her family! Instagram:@brokeincalifornia || View My Articles
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