This weekend the big cinema battle is between Joker and Judy, now I think considering the press surrounding Joker has been insane with Oscars already being predicted I think Joker will be the winner of this weekend's box office battle. As much as I want to see Joker, I'm not sure it's a film I could watch at the cinema so I instead opted to see Judy and I am so glad I did. If we are predicting Oscars, then Renee Zellweger should 100% be up for best actress for her performance as Hollywood legend Judy Garland. Recently the market has been flooded with Biopics from Rocketman to Bohemian Rhapsody but there is something different about Judy that had me hooked from start to finish, the film reflects the tragic and horrific moments that led to Garlands death at the young age of 47. Judy is a unapologetic biopic that throws light on the disgusting side of Hollywood, a side that most movies omit in favour of glamour and self-indulged vanity.
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Judy predominantly follows the final year of Judy Garlands (Renee Zellweger) life. She is penniless, in debt, homeless and losing her youngest two children to ex-husband Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell). The film uses flashbacks of Judy's childhood whilst she was filming The Wizard of Oz to highlight why she had problems later in life. Judy makes the difficult choice to travel to London alone in order to make enough money to buy and house and keep her children. During the tour Judy works along side a great team including assistant Rosalyn (Jessie Buckley) and band leader Bert (Royce Pierreson) who both try to help but ultimately cannot mentally reach Judy. The film also sheds light on Judy's final marriage to, Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) a nigh club owner that she meets at her daughter Liza Minnelli's (Gemma-Leah Devereux) party. Narrative wise this film highlights the emotional and physical effects working in Hollywood had on Judy, she was addicted to drugs and alcohol, she couldn't keep to a schedule and suffered from being severely underweight. It's a true tale of despair and sadness that is done perfectly.
Renee Zellweger is absolutely incredible in this role, there is a sense of real emotion and although the film is subtle with it's depiction of Judy's mental state Zellweger does a perfect job of letting the internal damage seep through. However, its not just Zellweger that brings Judy to life, Darci Shaw plays a young Judy on the set of The Wizard of Oz, she is constantly told she is fat and ugly by MGM founder Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery). We see that Judy's drug addiction began on the set of The Wizard of Oz where she was fed pills to reduce her appetite, to keep her awake and to make her sleep. The film is so sad, I watched it and found myself hating Hollywood and the way it treated people in the 1930's and even now. Sadly a few reviews failed to understand the message this film delivers stating that it hides the sadness behind moments of happiness. But the only time we see Judy coping is when she sings, and thats because she was trained to sing no matter what, plus these scenes are incredibly (I didn't realise how many Judy Garland songs I knew). In the final scene of the movie Judy is unable to sing the rest of Over the Rainbow and the audience joins in, this scene is incredibly powerful. It shows that Judy has lost all hope, the audience understand this and join in with her, it's a very touching moment, but it did not make me happy which other reviewers have claimed. I'm really unsure how anyone can say that Judy glossed over the tragic events of this film, it literally ends saying that six months after the final scene Judy died. I found this film incredibly clever and hard hitting.
Overall Judy is the tragic tale of Hollywood and its impact on young stars. I welcome the harsh reality this film offers up, it's a refreshing change for Hollywood to be depicted as the 'bad guy' and I think thats why most critics are struggling to feel the depth Judy has to offer. I could discuss the awful things that happened on the set of The Wizard of Oz and other films for ages, after all Judy was failed by Hollywood and so where many others. I fully recommend this film and I certainly hope Renee Zellweger gets the nomination she deserves.
Thank you for reading xx
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