Judy (2019)
A review by Shlomoh Sherman
November 5, 2019

Read about Judy On the Internet Movie Data Base

Judy (2019)
Director: Rupert Goold
Writers: Tom Edge (screenplay by), Peter Quilter (based on the stageplay "End of the Rainbow" by)
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock
Plot Synopsis: Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.
Plot Keywords: concert - year 1968 - winter - london england - performer
Taglines: Judy Garland: the legend behind the rainbow.
Genres: Biography - Drama - History - Romance
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated PG-13 for substance abuse, thematic content, some strong language, and smoking
Parents Guide: See below
Country: UK
Language: English
Release Date: October 4, 2019 (USA)
Filming Locations: West London Film Studios, London, England, UK S
Box Office:
Opening Weekend USA: $2,916,548, September 29, 2019
Gross USA: $22,928,554
Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $33,327,939
Production Co: BBC Films, Calamity Films, Pathe UK
Runtime: 118 min
Sound Mix: Dolby Atmos
Color: Color


Whenever I think of Renée Zellweger, I think of Jerry Maguire. But she has very much evolved since 1996. That became clear to me as I watched this year's Netflix series, WHAT IF. Renee has become a very dynamic actress and I cannot think of anyone better to be chosen for the title role of JUDY.

Not all child actors succeeded in show business as adults. Judy Garland marvelously did.

The film revolves around Judy Garland's London appearance in the winter of 1968. Audiences across the world, especially in England were enthusiastic fans of hers and completely unaware of how the years had worn down this fabulous star. At the time, after failed marriages and drug abuse and the inability to legally hold on to her younger children, she was not in any shape to deliver a professionally worthy live concert.

Having to deal with her addiction and depression, plus her fight with her ex-husband, Sidney Luft, over child custody, Judy displays to her London handlers that she is emotionally unprepared to fulfill her commitment to the engagement.

Between her failed performances, she relives her early life in a series of flashbacks. We are shown scenes of her mother's abusive attitude, her attempted defiance of her mother, a scolding by Louis B. Mayer that her bizarre behavior has held up the filming of a movie, the early rejection of romance from a teenage Mickey Rooney, and her unsuccessful personal relationships and marriages.

In the end, despite her negative behavior, the film shows that she was still loved by her fans.

Seeing her sing her final song at the London appearance, SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW, is heartbreaking. When she is overcome by emotion and stops singing, the audience rises and sings the song along with her.

I was shocked when the end credits said that she died at the early age of 47.

The role is played majestically by Zellweger who does her own singing. I will be shocked if she does not receive a deserved Oscar for her performance.

As usual, I append to my own review, that of one review found at IMDB. Here is an excerpt from
the September 28, 2019 review by Gortx.

Zellweger IS Judy Garland -
Sometimes an entire movie boils down to a lead performance, and JUDY is one of those examples. Fortunately, Renee Zellweger is more than up to to the challenge. Zellweger does more than just an imitation here ... The script follows the "Last Days" scenario seen in so many bio-pics...  Zellweger is strong enough to overcome most of the cliches. The rest of the cast does well, but outside of Jessie Buckley as her London assistant, they don't get much to do... The Production, music (nice to hear a new Gabriel Yared score), and, most critically, the makeup and hair all work to give us a fairly convincing glimpse of Garland's final months in 1969... The nicest touch is a scene with a male couple (Andy Nyman and Daniel Cerqueira) get to spend a night hosting Judy in London. It's a warm human moment that also pays homage to Garland's relationship with the gay community (a status that she bequeathed to her daughter Liza). Zellweger delivers a strong performance that keeps JUDY moving along, if not always smoothly.

KUDOS to Renée Zellweger for a magnifient performance.
KUDOS to Rufus Sewell as a former husband, Sidney Luft
KUDOS to Darci Shaw as young Judy.
KUDOS to Gemma-Leah Devereux in her brief role as Liza Minnelli.
KUDOS to Richard Cordery in his brief role as Louis B. Mayer.

If you choose to see the film, bring a few tissues.

Renée Zellweger spent a year training with vocal coach Eric Vetro before shooting began, then rehearsed with musical director Matt Dunkley for four months to master her vocals.
The film addresses the harsh treatment Judy Garland received at MGM in the 1930s and 40s. They put her on a strict diet and gave her prescription medication to control her weight and to help her sleep or stay awake, medication she eventually became addicted to. She probably also received unwanted sexual advances by senior staff during those years much like her younger 'rival' Shirley Temple was forced to endure at Twentieth Century Fox during the same period.
The film is a loose adaptation of the Olivier-nominated play 'End of the Rainbow.' Peter Quilter, the playwright behind "End of the Rainbow," said that he believed screenwriter Tom Edge "wanted the story to be much more true and precise," with less "elements of fantasy" than the play.
Renée Zellweger was born the same year that Judy Garland died: 1969.
Prior to the film's release, Liza Minnelli publicly made it clear through her Facebook account that she had "never met nor spoken to Renée Zellweger" and made it clear that she personally did "not approve nor sanction [this film project] in any way."

The ages of Judy's younger kids is not consistent with their actual ages at the time portrayed in the movie. The movie is set in 1968-1969 when her daughter Lorna would have been about 16 and her son Joe would have been 13-14.
When Judy and Mickey make a tower of cans above their sleeping friend, there is a state 7-up can. These cans were not released until 1976 for the bicentennial, long after the time frame of the movie.
The opening scene of Judy and Louie B. Mayer walking around the set of the "WIZARD OF OZ" is wrong. The set as shown is completely inaccurate, the poppies would not have been on an adjoining set as shown, and they were wrong in size and color. Also its farcical that Margaret Hamilton would have been riding a bicycle down the yellow brick road.
The few coins she had to call America would not have allowed a lengthy call to America. The cost of a phone call to USA in 1969 would have been prohibitively expensive from a phone box, without constant, frequent additions of more coins. She only puts in coins at the beginning of the call.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin Performed by Renée Zellweger and Rufus Wainwright
Get Happy Written by Sam Smith Performed by Renée Zellweger and Sam Smith
Somewhere over the Rainbow Written by E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen Performed by Renée Zellweger


MPAA Rated PG-13 for substance abuse, thematic content, some strong language, and smoking

Australia:M Belgium:KT/EA Canada:PG (Alberta) Canada:PG (British Columbia) Canada:PG (Manitoba) Canada:G (Quebec) Denmark:7 Finland:K-12 Germany:0 Ireland:12A Malta:12A Netherlands:12 New Zealand:M Norway:7 Portugal:M/12 Russia:16+ Serbia:12 Singapore:PG13 Spain:12 (ICAA) Sweden:7 Thailand:13 United Kingdom:12A United States:PG-13 (certificate #51854)


Violence and Gore

Moderate - Two uses of the f-word, a few other milder profanities. Not pervasive.

Severe - A lead character constantly takes pills. Younger audiences wouldn't understand drug missuse and is portrayed negitavely



British Independent Film Award Best Actress - Renée Zellweger
Best Cinematography - Ole Bratt Birkeland
Best Costume Design - Jany Temime
Best Make Up & Hair Design - Jeremy Woodhead (hair & makeup)
Best Production Design - Kave Quinn

Hollywood Film Award Actress of the Year - Renée Zellweger

Read about Judy On the Internet Movie Data Base

Credited cast:
Renne Zellweger ... Judy Garland
Jessie Buckley ... Rosalyn Wilder
Finn Wittrock ... Mickey Deans
Michael Gambon ... Bernard Delfont
Rufus Sewell ... Sidney Luft
Bella Ramsey ... Lorna Luft
Andy Nyman       ... Dan
Gaia Weiss       ... Abbie
Darci Shaw       ... Young Judy
Gemma-Leah Devereux ... Liza Minnelli
Phil Dunster ... Ben
Royce Pierreson ... Burt
Fenella Woolgar ... Margaret Hamilton
John Dagleish ... Lonnie Donegan
Richard Cordery ... Louis B. Mayer
Lucy Russell ... Publicist

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