Judy: Film Review

What did I think of the film? It was depressing. It’s the story of Judy Garland. It’s the story of a woman with a wonderful voice who was starstruck with her own stardom. It’s the story of a Hollywood mogul who gave her a tough time when she tried to break out of the straitjacket existence in the movies that she signed up for.

It’s the story of a woman who loved her children but would not seek help to get off the pills she had been on since a teenager. The pills were forced on her by her mother. She had pills to keep her thin, pills to get her up, and pills to get her to sleep.

So give her a break, she was messed up.

Yes, OK. I give her a break. But it wasn’t enough for a film. It was a dramatised documentary. And it was all about her, except for the scenes with the gay couple in their flat trying to make a meal for them and her and enjoying the poignancy of each others’ company. That was nice.

When one of them falls asleep on the sofa late at night, his partner talks about how his partner was in prison for homosexuality, and says ironically and knowingly and wistfully that since the change in the law it appears they didn’t do anything wrong all along. Nice social commentary.

Renee Zellweger was very impressive near the end when she moved around the stage. I mean she was impressive irrespective of what character she was supposed to be playing.

And she captured some ‘Judy Garland looks’ and those almost black eyes. But, it didn’t amount to a film. And if it did, it was depressing. No redeeming end, just a very British bit of cake in a cafe with Bernard Delfont’s uptight personal assistant and a nervous band leader.

The worst part of the film were the credits, the credits in gold sparkle against a black background. They seem designed by someone who thought that we the audience would be so stricken by the emotional intensity of the film that we would stare spellbound at the names as they came up sparkle by sparkle and then faded, slowly.

Except that the snail’s pace at which the sparkles sparked and faded was not emotionally charged; it was ponderous.

The names of the producers and the associate producers in sparkles just had me wondering when the lights would go up in the cinema. In fact, I thought, did someone associated with the film insist that venues keep the lights down until those names had passed and the rest of the credits could begin?

2 thoughts on “Judy: Film Review”

  1. I disagree (we should tell readers that we saw this film together, yes?), oh let me count the ways – but I am not interested in detailing them here.

    However, overall I would say that it was a depressing film but such was the real story of Judy Garland’s life. It was not a fictional account. And I thought Renee Zellweger captured Judy Garland in a myriad of ways, she was terrific.

    Basically Garland was a woman destroyed by the exceptional genius of her voice, which of course Zellweger could not duplicate. However, I thought she did make a valiant try with her own singing. Emulating Garland’s lush vibrato would have been an impossibility for almost anyone, so I was pleased that she didn’t go to that territory.

    I also disagree with your comment about the credits: I think that was a nod of the head to the glitzy life in which Garland was bound first by her none-too-kind mom from the age of two.

    • Well, I know you liked it. And mine is not the last word. I will let the film sit in the memory for a while and see what remains. You remember how I mentioned that Woody Allen film starring Cate Blanchett – another depressing film – about a woman unable to be real, full of evasion and excuses. And no redemption – just muttering to herself on a park bench at the end of the film. Aargh!

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