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JUDY

SYNOPSIS:
Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger arrives in London in the winter of 1968 for a series of sold-out concerts.

Review by Louise Keller:
Renee Zellweger's electric performance lingers as surely as the overwhelming sadness that permeates throughout this bio-pic. Simply titled Judy, the film's power lies in the complex mingling of raw emotions in the twilight of Judy Garland's career together with Zellweger's own vulnerability. The fragility is tangible.

Based on Peter Quilter's stage play End of a Rainbow, Tom Edge has crafted a potent screenplay, straddling Garland's last drug and alcohol fueled years with the first chapter, when the impressionable teenage star is cast as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. The symbolic yellow brick road that symbolizes dreams and hope is somewhat overshadowed by the intimidation of studio mogul Louis B. Mayer, leaving Judy with a life-long paranoia about weight, food, sleep and drug dependence. The contrast between the damaged woman and young innocent girl could not be greater; it is the teetering of these extremes that makes the experience so powerful.

There is a child-like quality about Zellweger's Garland, never better depicted than in the scene when she climbs into the wardrobe of her two younger children, seeking a hideaway from the world they cannot escape. Rufus Sewell is terrific as her unbending ex-husband Sidney Luft. She is desperately trying to earn enough money to provide a home for them. London's Talk of the Town is the money tree that beckons.

Director Rupert Goold expertly describes Garland's relationships - with her Talk of the Town minder Rosalyn (Jessie Buckley, understated), theatre promotor Bernard Delfont (Michael Gambon), her younger lover Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) and children Lorna (Bella Ramsey) and Joey (Lewin Lloyd). Liza with a 'Zee' (Gemma-Leah Devereux) is seen briefly. Darci Shaw is well cast as the young Garland. Zellweger's vocals are effective if not quite in Garland's league.

Zellweger's performance is marvelous. She is insightful, mature and above all, revealing in this devastating portrait of a legend, an icon and woman unable to deliver the hope and expectations of the public who embrace the dream of the yellow brick road.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

JUDY (PG)
(UK, 2019

CAST: Renee Zellweger, JessieBuckley, FinnWittrock, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, BellaRamsey, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Gaia Weiss, Philippe Spall

PRODUCER: David Livingstone

DIRECTOR: Rupert Goold

SCRIPT: Tom Edge (based on stage play End of a Rainbow by Peter Quilter)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ole Bratt Birkeland

EDITOR: Melanie Oliver

MUSIC: Gabriel Yared

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kave Quinn

RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 10, 2019







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