Renee Zellweger gives an award-worthy performance as Judy Garland in the film “Judy.” The life of the final months of the legendary performer is examined with flashbacks to her early years under the hard thumb of Louis B. Mayer.
In 1968 Garland was broke, homeless and having career problems, as well as custody issues with her former husband Sid Luft, the father of her two children, Lorna and Joe. The only way out of her situation was to get back into performing and the offer to sing in London was her lifeline. The only way she saw to get full custody of her kids was to leave them in the care of Luft, for just a little while, while she went to London to perform and earn enough money to buy a house for the three of them. But things did not turn out the way she wanted.
From the first part of her career in Hollywood, Garland was managed and treated like a trained animal. She was told when to sleep (which wasn’t often), what to eat (which wasn’t much), whom to see, and how to act. She was given prescriptions to help her sleep and more to wake her up and keep her going. She became a drinker and had plenty of psychological problems to tame. But the one constant in her life was her talent. She was without a doubt, one of the all-time greatest singers.
The film looks at the tragedies in Garland’s life but also how fabulous she was on stage. She could turn on the charm and sing amazingly at the drop of a hat, unless she was drunk. Alcohol was the one thing that turned a spectacular Judy Garland show into a flop.
The only down side to this film is that it is too short! It is a fabulous look at Garland, however Zellweger’s performance is the most amazing part of the film. She sang all her songs live as the cameras rolled and transfixed the entire cast and crew during the production. And she will undoubtedly have viewers engrossed as well. It is difficult to see Zellweger on screen. It is Garland viewers will be looking at. Zellweger’s transformation into Garland in every nuance of her character is remarkable. If she doesn’t win all the awards this year, it is a shame. She wholeheartedly deserves them.
There is a soundtrack CD with all of the songs in the film and more. Even for fans of Judy Garland, hearing Renee Zellweger singing the songs is an enjoyable experience. She is a fabulous singer, which many people will discover while watching the film, and her acting talent is top notch.
“Judy” is available on DVD and on Blu-ray Combo pack beginning Tuesday, but is available on Digital now.