Judy provides audiences with a tragic look at the final years of one of America’s most iconic performers. Renee Zellweger puts on a masterclass as she seemingly loses herself in a role the Academy Award winning actress was born to play. While some might confuse the film as melodramatic, more astute moviegoers will understand that this was just her life (give it whatever name you want). Judy Garland was seemingly always on the brink of ruin as she lived out of various hotels realizing that she couldn’t afford to stay there. She is so desperate to remain in the limelight (long after her days in Oz), that she’s bringing out her kids to do low paying gigs with her at just about any venue.
Tom Edge’s screenplay brilliantly captures not only how tortured Garland indeed was, but also it’s origins. Judy provides audience’s with a glimpse at just what a young Garland had to go through as she was entering show business. Nothing was as it appeared. Everything was studio driven to create this perception that the young actress was just a typical American girl (even though her life was anything but that). Her drug use started at a young age and became such a way of life for her that even her kids had grown to accept.
Where Judy truly hits home is when she begins to understand that her life choices are the very thing destroying everything she ever wanted. Zellweger nails those moments in the film. That scene in the phone booth where Garland is talking with her children in California is shattering. We also begin to see just how isolated she was as she begins seeking companionship in the oddest of ways. Was it someone craving attention, or was she that lonely?
Overall, Judy is well worth seeing if for no other reason than to take in what surely will be an Oscar-nominated performance for Ms. Zellweger. It’s also an intriguing look at one of the tragic figures ever in entertainment.