Movie Review: Judy

By David Lee Zamora

Special to the Parade

Judy is a way better Bohemian Rhapsody, a movie that truly makes you feel for Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger) and her struggles to make money and to take back custody of her children from her ex-husband. 

Garland played Dorothy in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and was a singer and dancer. The pressures and environment of early stardom plagued Garland with alcohol and substance abuse and insomnia. Film executives told her she was unattractive and forced her work countless hours without sleep or food.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying Bohemian Rhapsody was bad, but that it missed its mark by just focusing on Freddy Mercury and his life while leaving the rest of Queen in the background. Judy, on the other hand, intentionally focuses on one person, and that’s Judy Garland, and because of this singular-focus, the film emphasizes the horrible struggles Garland went through as a child, like film studio staff giving her appetite-suppressing amphetamines in fear of her gaining weight for The Wizard of Oz shoots.

This film leaves no doubt that her teen years were hell, and that’s shown through flashbacks throughout the film.

One of the great things about this film is the performance of Renee Zellweger. She truly does wear her emotions on her sleeves, making you feel  her fear when she realises that shes going to perform on stage in front of hundreds of people again, or her sadness when she brings up her kids. It’s not just Zellweger: everyone else is great too. 

Finn Wittrock, who plays Garland’s new husband, Mickey Deans, comes off as a charming man who’s genuinely interested in Garland, but there’s something off about him that’s shown later on. His character is one of my favorites in the film; favorite in the fact that I love to hate him.

I had no problem with this film. If I had to think of one, I couldn’t. Well, maybe one little thing: when Garland’s coworkers take her out for a surprise goodbye cake, they all say it looks delicious, but in my opinion, it just looks disgusting. Like a creamy mess of a cake. Yeah, that’s my only problem with the film. Regardless of the cake, the happy ending is good: it makes a good send off to her flawed-but-good, kind-hearted character. 

This film is a typical musician biopic that tells you about the subject, with a bit of made-up stuff to add to the film. It’s very reminiscent of the film Selena or La Bamba, and if you enjoy these films for their stories and music, then you should try Judy.

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