By Myla Tosatto
By now we all know the story of Judy Garland, the beautiful songstress who defined our childhoods in The Wizard of Oz as the iconic Dorothy. Garland was born Frances Gumm in a Midwestern town blessed with a big voice and a quick wit. We also know how her life ended; a drug overdose. What the new movie Judy does is fill in the pieces of how she met her too soon end at age forty-seven.
The story of Judy, is the story of two women: the sixteen year old Judy Garland and the forty-six year old Judy Garland. Both stories are tragic. The younger Judy faces stardom guided by a horrible system that controlled its stars through intimidation and illegal substances and the older Judy is the result of a lifetime of that abuse. The story of Judy is also one of survival, motherhood, financial loss and real life struggle.
Renee Zellweger gets her meatiest role yet (and she has had some doozies- from Jerry Maguire to the Bridget Jones’s Diary franchise to Chicago) portraying the legend, Judy Garland. Judy focuses on the last months of Judy Garland’s life and career where she has to leave her children behind to make money in London. Since Garland has been performing since she was a toddler this should have been a slam dunk. But Garland was dependent on drugs and alcohol and suffered from crippling low self esteem. We watch Zellweger crumble and soar on stage in the UK while viewing her life through flashbacks of a teenage Garland (Darci Shaw). It’s a horrifying tale of studio greed that preys on young people and ruined Garland herself.
Zellweger did all of her own singing and totally captures Garland in this pic. Her heartstrings may be going ZING ZING ZING when the Oscar nominations come out!