Review by Mr. Will Wong
While Rupert Goold‘s JUDY might not be that feel-good Film of the year, it is a fascinating portrait framed around the final weeks of Hollywood icon Judy Garland’s (Renée Zellweger) life. Set in 1969, we see her homeless and struggling to support her children, hence taking on a string of sold-out London shows, which pull her away from her children as she fights to retain custody of them. We see her fall in love with her much-younger fifth husband Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock), battling her addiction to prescription pills and alcohol at once. We watch her world unravel as the Film handles it all with compassion.
While we feel some characters, particularly her love interests of the past and present are oversimplified and generic, all else pales in comparison to Zellweger‘s tour-de-force delivery. She is phenomenal in the glossy numbers under the bright lights with a big band as she is in the Film’s more heartbreaking moments where she is reduced to pure vulnerability.
While this story ultimately is tragic, Goold and Writer Tom Edge find that one last spark before Garland‘s light extinguished, and make it a beautiful, lasting moment.
JUDY screens TIFF Tues, Sep 10 at the Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre at 6:00pm and Wed, Sep 11 at the Elgin Theatre at 11:00am.