28 September 2019 | paul-allaer
Outstanding Renee Zellweger sure to get Best Actress Oscar nomination
"Judy" (2019 release; 118 min.) is a bio-pic about Judy Garland. As the movie opens, we are on the set of "The Wizard of Oz", and Judy is getting lectured by creepy ol' studio boss Louis Meyer. We then go to the present (i.e. the late 60s), where Judy can't afford her Hollywood hotel suite and is in essence homeless. Out of sheer desperation, she and her 2 kids end up at Syd, one of her ex-husbands (yes, she has multiple). When a lucrative offer arrives for a series of shows in London, she reluctantly accepts, as her kids are left with her ex... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is a multi-country co-production, and directed by British director Robert Goold, best known for his stage work in London, but he did direct the excellent film "True Story" a few years ago. Here he and the production team are bringing a Hollywood legend's waning years and youth to the big screen, so in certainly isn't covering Garland's entire life. Only 2 eras are covered: when she was 15-16, and her London 'comeback' in early 69. In that sense this is not a traditional bio-pic. Is everything that we see on the big screen an accurate reflection of July's life? I haven't the faintest idea. Most of the film plays out in London, and what we see is a frail woman who is world famous yet ever so lonely. She doesn't know who to trust as people left and right are riding Judy's coattails. And what about her youth at MGM? Even then she was manipulated, intimidated, abused, and taken advantage of (the scenes with Louis Mayer are revealing. Of course, we are watching a movie, with full of performances, and hence it needs to be pointed that Renee Zellweger is absolutely astonishing (and almost not recognizable) in the title role. She IS Judy Garland. Now age 50 (and hence perfectly well place to play the then-47 year old Garland), Zellweger brings a career-defining performance, period. On top of that, she does all of her own singing, and does it quite well. I am gong on record that Zellweger will get a Best Actress Oscar nomination for this, I have no doubt about it.
"Judy" premiered at the recent Telluride film festival to immediate acclaim, and the film opened this weekend on not one but two screens of my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was PACKED, I am happy to report. In some of the more moving scenes of the movie, you could hear a pin drop in the theater. If you have any interest in Judy Garland, or are simply a fan of Renee Zellweger, I would readily recommend that you check this out, be it in the theater, or VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.