Judy (Rupert Goold, 2019, USA/UK)

Judy is a standard biopic, albeit a well-executed one. It is elevated by Renee Zellweger's turn as Judy Garland. I had a rather broad view of Garland's life before watching this film, and the film affirmed rather than changed how I view Judy Garland. The troubled but gifted performer who was chewed up and spit out by the Hollywood machine is on full display in Goold's film. Perhaps this is the biggest problem with the film. For those who are not so familiar with Judy Garland, it does not bring anything new to the table. While Judy fans might enjoy the film, I suspect many will find it lacking.
     The film does its best to show the wider cultural impact Judy Garland had, albeit in a limited way. Her status as a gay icon is shown through a connection in the film with two gay fans, who bond with her over their shared problems. Unfortunately this aspect of the film feels rather forced.
     Zellweger as Garland is a true transformation - there is no denying this fact. Whether it is an accurate transformation is up-to-date. The film shows only Garland's very early career, and the end of her life - a failed residency in London. Someone watching the film with no knowledge of Garland might have no idea of the level of success and popularity she attained. 
     The early stages of her career - mainly comprised of abusive encounters with studio head Louis B. Mayer - are clearly meant to resonate with the current #metoo movement. Still, the level of suffering Garland underwent at the hands of the studio is left a bit unrealized. 
      While Judy hits the right notes, it becomes a bit too dirge-like at certain points. While there is no avoiding the inevitable conclusion, the film still could be more dynamic. 



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