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Judy Movie Review: Renée Zellweger Shines in Potential Oscar-winning Performance

Judy Movie Review: Renée Zellweger Shines in Potential Oscar-winning Performance

'Judy', based on the life of the 'Wizard of Oz' star and singer Judy Garland starring Renée Zellweger, is one of the finest examples of how a biopic should be made.


Cast: Renée Zellweger, Finn Wittrock, Jessie Buckley, Darci Shaw

Director: Rupert Goold

Bringing to light the last couple of years of America's favourite star Judy Garland’s life, Roopert Goold's Judy starring Renée Zellweger, depicts her messy, scandalous and pill-popping life, hitherto an unknown story.

Judy, in a non-linear format, shows her as an adolescent (played by Darci Shaw) where she has just played Dorothy Gale and is now America’s sweetheart and the late 1968-69 when she moves to London to tour in sold-out amphitheatres.

The plot is quite simple. It shows what went down when Judy became a star and how she dealt with her fading stardom. Being an insomniac she fed on pills from a very young age. Judy is shown to be bullied and harassed by studio honcho Louis B Mayer, which shatters her sense of self-worth till the last years of her life.

In her finer moments in the film, Renée as Judy is with her family. She struggles to be a good mother to her children. This has been established from the very beginning of the film. Family, in Judy, has been of utmost importance and even though most of the film is about her last tour, somewhere or the other it is always evident that is not really where Judy wants to be. “I’m only Judy Garland for one hour a night. The rest of the time, I’m part of a family,” she later says at a television interview, right before it goes south.

That statement just makes so much more sense when you realise that the legend who had spent most of her years putting up a facade actually was most honest with her audience when she hit a personal low. She was addicted to alcohol and pills, she was clinically depressed, and in so many nights she was literally pushed to the stage where she shone. Judy would trip and fall, be upset by hecklers, be late, intoxicated and attacked by food the audience threw at her. But even when we see the dark side of the business, we see the purest side to Judy.

One of the greatest sequences in the film is when she accompanies a gay couple home, eats their omelette dish and tells them that even when the world has ostracised them for being different, there will always be hope. In a heartbreaking scene, Andy Nyman, (one of the gay partners) plays the piano for Judy to sing along and eventually breaks down because he is overwhelmed.

Even when actors like Finn Wittrock, Jessie Buckley (who plays the extremely important role of Judy's London assistant Rosalyn Wilder), Andy Nyman and Rufus Sewell excel in their moments, the spotlight is always shining bright on Renée. From postures to expressions to Judy's signature sarcasm, Renée gets everything right. The actress transforms into Judy Garland and not for one moment would you think this was the same actress who you watched in Bridget Jones Dairy.

Renée is a force to be reckoned with. All songs that she has sung for the film, hitting the right notes as Garland, is a prime example of her finesse. She will make you weep for Judy and want to go inside the screen and hug her, multiple times. Renée has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Judy and she has swept off most award shows this season. However, I am rooting very hard for Renée. Honestly, just give her the Oscar already!

Judy does a fantastic job of humanising the original Star and it does a much better job of immortalising her. It honours her memory, it does not put her on a pedestal, neither does it criminalise her. It is the prime example of how a biography on a legend should be made.

Thanks to the film, exactly as Judy made the audience promise her on a night in London in 1969, 'we will never forget her'.

Rating: 4.5/5

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