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Film Review: Renée Zellweger in “Judy” (2019) ★★★★★


We all are equally responsible for what happens to our beloved artists. It’s all due to our impatience, harsh demands from them to perform, deliver us entertainment even if that is the last thing they want to ever do in their entire life. If “Vox Lux” was not a good example of it, then maybe by looking back at what happened to Elvis Presley, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston and many more would be. Their drug addiction or severe alcoholism brought them to the end of their life. But remember, none of them would’ve been that pressured if we were more understanding so that their managers would not drag them on stage when the only place they needed to be in was their bed to rest.

“Judy” follows the legendary Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) the last year of her life before she reaches her end, sold-out London concerts, her fifth marriage, alcoholism, her childhood and how she has been exploited by the studio with all the unimaginable restrictions that leave a mark in her life. And, of course, her trouble with her ex-husband, Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell), over the custody of her children and financial crisis. But more importantly, it’s about the true artist that gave her all for the stage, for the audience, for music and got nothing in return in reality.

The film begins with an acting coach who’s with young Judy as she gets ready for the role of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”. Then, we find an already famous Judy with her children, unable to check into her hotel due to money issues. Having no other option, she asks Sid to help her out, eventually leaving with him her children so she can travel to London to make enough money to win the custody of her children. However, after arriving in London to perform at sold-out shows, Judy cannot stay away from alcohol and continues battling her demons while the impatient audience leaves her no chance but demand from her to do her best to entertain them.

Directed by Rupert Goold, “Judy” is the perfect example of strongly emphasizing the fear of a very talented person who thought she will be forgotten sooner than later. She is afraid, thus in a rush to not disappoint her fans. However, one particular scene explains why we never deserved having a talent like Judy in our life. For instance, when she was heavily intoxicated and collapsed right on stage, nobody ran up to her asking whether she needed help; fans, with a lack of empathy, were displeased that Judy was on the ground and began shouting at her like they had the rights to do so.

Whenever an artist on stage is wasted emotionally and physically, yet it’s tried to exploit each inch of her or his body due to the signed contract that individuals cannot break. It is thus easy to predict the future of that person which does not look good at all. All that would not be possible to capture if not for the fabulous performance delivered by the great Renée Zellweger, who not only embodied Judy Garland but gave a well-deserving voice that must be paid attention to. Zellweger’s confidence steals every scene; she never misses even a small opportunity to highlight Judy Garland’s greatness through her Oscar-worthy performance. There was never a doubt what we were dealing with – and it was Zellweger who, on top of her game, does what many actresses would fail to do – capture every troubled artist of any generation we fans could not provide a support.

In the end, “Judy” is an exceptional film that will leave you in tears. As someone who found it hard to move after the end of closing credits, the film somehow manages to stay with you longer than you may anticipate. The color of the film, editing, directing, costumes and the selection of the songs was flawless from start to end. Indeed, it does not need to be groundbreaking to be considered one of the best biopics of the year, because it is by far as moving and deep as it could get with a strong message in it – do not take your beloved artist for granted. If you see her falling down, go and give her a hand. When we respect art, then we should admire the one who delivers it as well. If we cannot, maybe we should change our preference for something else.

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