Judy… Judy Garland, mother of Liza Minelli and the legend from The Wizard Of Oz – who died at the age of just 47, and now portrayed here by Renée Zellweger (Bridget Jones’ Baby), who was two years older than that at the time of making this, and is also 3.5″ taller than Ms Galland’s 4’11½ frame.
We first see her on the set of the aforementioned movie with the yellow brick road, as the young Ms Garland (The Bay‘s Darci Shaw), alongside studio manager Louis B. Mayer in a brief scene before moving to almost the present day where she’s on her downward spiral, losing popularity and sinking into drink and drugs, in what became her final year.
Along the way, her ex-husband, Sid (Rufus Sewell), wants to take custody of the children, as she needs to go abroad to London to make money as she can’t do it at home… especially when she doesn’t even have a home. then, when she’s about to put on a show, she skips rehearsal after realising how much of a comedown it will be from her heights. What can go wrong(?)
With regular support from Jessie Buckley (Beast) as production assistant Rosalyn Wilder, Finn Wittrock as new beau Mickey Deans, and Royce Pierreson as pianist Burt Rhodes, the film flits back and forth between her in the ‘present day’ and as a child star where, in the latter, she’s forced by her mother to take food-suppresant tablets in order to stay thin, so the drugs began early.
Ms Zellweger is certainly good in the role, but despite her winning the Best Actress BAFTA, I can’t say whether she’s great or BAFTA/Oscar-worthy as I’ve never seen enough of the original Judy Garland to be able to comment. In fact, I’ve only ever seen the one film of hers, the name of which I gave earlier. That said, she does certainly give a good wide-eyed performance of someone who’s really not in control of her faculties as she belts out tunes on stage.
Overall, as someone who wasn’t a major fan of Ms Garland but has an interest in biopics in an attempt to learn something about them, this film passes a couple of hours reasonably well, but it’s neither the best movie you’ll see all year, nor the worst.
Finally, one thing I’m not sure of – and I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m not correct – is to ask the question of whether Ms Zellweger did her own singing for this movie? It certainly does look like it at times and a cursory glance online shows that she did indeed sing, but that she doesn’t need all of Ms Garland’s range.
The picture and the sound is spot-on for a modern movie. However, unlike the star portrayed, there’s nothing legendary about the extras, since in addition to the perfunctory audio descriptive track, the featurettes are too short to be of any real use.
There’s Transformation: Becoming Judy (2:01) (above), and Behind The Scenes (4:06), the latter containing brief chat from Ms Zellweger and various cast and crew, plus the real Rosalyn Wilder. Plus, there’s three Deleted Scenes (8:47) and two Trailers (3:32).
The menu mixes clips from the film with a short piece of the score, there are subtitles in English, when it comes to chapters, Fox give us a bog-standard paltry 12.
(click on the image for the full-sized version)
Running time: 117 minutes
Studio: 20th Centry Fox Home Entertainment
Released: February 3rd 2020
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Rupert Goold
Producer: David Livingstone
Screenplay: Tom Edge
Based on the stageplay “End of the Rainbow”: Peter Quilter
Music: Gabriel Yared
Judy Garland: Renée Zellweger
Rosalyn Wilder: Jessie Buckley
Mickey Deans: Finn Wittrock
Burt Rhodes: Royce Pierreson
Sid Luft: Rufus Sewell
Bernard Delfont: Michael Gambon
Louis B. Mayer: Richard Cordery
Young Judy: Darci Shaw
Lorna Luft: Bella Ramsey
Dan: Andy Nyman
Stan: Daniel Cerqueira
Lorna Luft: Bella Ramsey
Joey Luft: Lewin Lloyd
Ken Frisch: Tom Durant-Pritchard
Lonnie Donegan: John Dagleish
Dr. Hargreaves: Adrian Lukis
Liza Minnelli: Gemma-Leah Devereux
Mickey Rooney: Gus Barry
Vivian: Jodie McNee
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.