Writer: Tom Edge (Screenplay) Peter Quilter (Stageplay)
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Rufus Sewell, Jessie Buckley, Michael Gambom, Finn Wittrock, Gaia Weiss, Bella Ramsey
Plot: Legendary performer Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.
Tagline – Judy Garland: the legend behind the rainbow.
Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Zellweger Shines
Story: Judy starts in the late 1960’s where screen legend Judy Garland (Zellweger) has been running low on money, struggling to keep a roof over her children’s heads, she must let her ex-husband Sidney Luft (Sewell) look after them, while she travels to London, where she has a fan base dying to see her in sell-out concerts.
In London Judy is managed by Rosalyn Wilder (Buckley) who must make sure she makes the shows, Judy is trying to make the money, while experiencing the flashbacks of her time working on the Wizard of Oz, being order into certain diets, being controlled. She does make new friends and learns about her own personal problems.
Thoughts on Judy
Characters – Judy Garland is the screen legend, she has been struggling in the mid-40s with a reputation that claims she is difficult, needing to find a way to have an income, she moves to London for a string of shows, which soon sell out, giving her a chance at recovering her career, only her demons will continue to haunt her. Sidney Luft is the ex-husband that wants to have custody of their children back in America. Rosalyn Wilder is trying to manage Judy on the London, she does what she can, getting the most out of her. Bernard Delfont is financing the concerts, he is left disappointed with Judy, echoing what it was like for her as a child star. Most of the supporting characters don’t get much to do, while we focus a lot more on Judy’s life.
Performances – Renee Zellweger is fantastic in this leading role, completely controlling the scenes, making us feel every emotion that Judy would go through. Rufus Sewell, Jessie Buckley and Michael Gambon are all strong, though they don’t get much to work with.
Story – The story here follows Judy Garland’s arrival in London for a set of concerts, hoping to revive her career, only her past demons and reputation come back to haunt her once again. The story might show more of her time on the big stage in London which is all fine, but the tragic side of her story only comes in small flashbacks, these scenes are filled with pain and would have been a lot more interesting to see, just how badly she was treated at a young age by the blossoming Hollywood system. We don’t see much between The Wizard of Oz and 1968 either, which is where her bad reputation comes from, this would have also been nice to see, what caused this reputation, was it fair etc. we just seem to skip a lot, despite how interesting the loneliness Judy is experiencing in London would be.
Biopic – We only get to see a couple of moments from Judy’s life, part of the making of Wizard of Oz and then her 1968 concert tour in London, different stages of her career, different problems in her life.
Settings – The film has a couple of main settings, the set of Wizard of Oz, the stage in London and the hotel where she was staying in her time in London, they show her strength, her weakness and the place that broke her early in her life.
Scene of the Movie – Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Final Thoughts – This is an interesting biopic, where we get to see a difficult stage of her career, Zellweger is fantastic and elevates this film to new levels.
Overall: Nice Biopic, With Something Missing.