Judy (2019) Review

Judy (2019)

Directed by Rupert Goold

Based on End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter

Starring: Renée Zellweger, Finn Wittrock, Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.

My Opinion:

I liked this movie a lot and way more than I was expecting. As much as I’m a film lover, I’ve not explored Judy Garland’s stuff at all and know almost nothing about her. It’s strange as The Wizard Of Oz has been one of my favorite movies since I was a kid. I absolutely adore it and everything about it is so iconic. Why did I never watch anything else she’s been in? I suppose it’s because I’m not usually a big fan of musicals. Shameful! I really must explore more of her work.

Maybe I was able to buy into this more as I’m not a massive Judy Garland fan like so many people are? As I never saw much of the real Garland, I was able to fully accept Renée Zellweger as Judy. I’m not sure I’m a Zellweger fan as I’ve never really loved her in anything but I thought she was great in this. I do wonder what Garland experts thought of her performance. I have no idea but I loved it and I felt so much sympathy for her, which I think was important. I think people are often a bit dismissive of “troubled” famous people who overdose. I can’t imagine the pressures involved with fame but it’s clearly a big problem as early death is quite common for stars. And I guess I knew she was young when she died but, damn – it really hit me during this film upon realizing I’m almost the same age now. I know I’m far from young but also far too young to die. I even almost got teary at the end of this film and I’m not one to fall for tearjerkers very often. So, yeah – I think Zellweger did a great job in making Judy seem so human and so sympathetic and in making me want to know more about her now.

I maybe shouldn’t have mentioned the term “tearjerker”. It’s not at all how I’d describe this movie, although it certainly has emotional moments. I’m glad the movie told her story in a very straightforward way without making it into some heavy drama. I hate that over the top Oscar-bait and Judy doesn’t do that. It’s not contrived. It’s a little melancholy but not dreary. As so much of the focus is on her final performances, I would think that Judy fans probably got a lot of enjoyment out of watching this movie & hearing those songs.

I’d say, though, that if you want Garland’s life story this movie isn’t where you’ll get it. Which is fine. It just very much focuses mainly on her last year of life and a tiny bit on her very start in show business. There’s nothing whatsoever in between but, as I always say, if you want a factual full life story you should just watch a documentary. It also gives me a chance to find out more on my own & to explore the movies I missed (I’ve been meaning to watch Meet Me In St. Louis for years). I really liked the focus being that final year.

I should quickly add that everyone else did a very good job in the film as well and it was good to see Judy’s relationships in her final year. But this movie is truly Zellweger’s and Judy is the true star and center of attention. As she deserved to be. I do hope Zellweger gets an Oscar nomination for this and wish the movie had better reviews than it seems to have received. As I said, I think that may be because it’s not dramatic enough for the Academy. For me, it felt more real the way it was presented and I wish life had been easier for Garland.

My Rating: 7.5/10

CPD Classics: The Wizard Of Oz (1939) Review

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The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

Directed by Victor Fleming

Based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum

Starring:
Judy Garland
Frank Morgan
Ray Bolger
Bert Lahr
Jack Haley
Billie Burke
Margaret Hamilton
Charley Grapewin
Clara Blandick
Pat Walshe
Terry

Running time: 101 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Dorothy. Kansas. Toto. A scarecrow, tin man & lion. Munchkins. Flying monkeys. The Emerald City. Good witches & bad witches. Yellow brick roads. Etc.

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My Opinion:

I figured it’s a good time to do this one as a CPD Classic because 1. I believe they’re doing something special for this at the Oscars this Sunday and 2. It’s another review I can add to my IMDB Top 250 Challenge HERE. Oh, and 3. I love the movie.

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It’s hard to know what to say about a classic like The Wizard Of Oz when, I assume, most everyone has seen it. I grew up with The Wizard Of Oz and for years I thought the best movies in the whole wide world were The Wizard Of Oz and the Star Wars movies. I’ve of course “grown out” of The Wizard Of Oz a little bit now (unlike Star Wars!) but I’ll always be very fond of this childhood classic.

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I’ve not read any L Frank Baum so know only the movie. The way the film turned to bright technicolor when Dorothy opened the door to Munchkinland made me SO happy every time I watched it. Now, this was in the old days so I only got to see it once a year when they’d show it on TV. It was such a big event when it was time for the annual showing of The Wizard Of Oz! I remember one year holding a tape recorder up to the TV to record as much of the movie as I could. A tape recorder! Do the young bloggers even know what I’m talking about?! Man I’m showing my age. But I listened to that tape over and over again and I’m pretty sure I can still recite every line from my very favorite part of the film (Munchkinland, of course!).

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Then of course there are the songs. I’m sure everyone will agree that Somewhere Over The Rainbow is one of the biggest film classics of all-time. I personally liked all the Munchkinland songs the most & lines such as the coroner’s “She’s not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead”. Ha! I thought that was so funny as a kid. Oh! And the Lollipop Guild! Those guys were AWESOME!

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I do wonder what kids these days think of this film. I grew up with it and never really gave it much thought but it IS pretty mental! And I found some bits VERY scary (mainly the talking apple trees, the wicked witch of course, and those horrible flying monkeys! they still creep me out). But, hey – I watched it from a young age and turned out okay. Right? RIGHT?! ANSWER ME, PEOPLE!!!! Well, it’s good for kids to be a “little” scared sometimes, right? I think we shelter them too much these days.

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I have no idea where this review is going. I just feel a little silly talking about a film that’s so well known. It’s a classic. It’s VERY iconic. Those ruby slippers on that yellow brick road, Dorothy’s dress, The Emerald City, the three friends she meets along the way, the munchkins and Glinda the good witch, the Wicked Witch of the West and the creepy way her sister’s feet curl up under Dorothy’s house, the way it does match up REALLY well with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon album (try it – it’s trippy!). I don’t know what to say other than it truly is a classic. They don’t make ’em like this anymore! That’s why The Wizard Of Oz is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9/10

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By the way: Stay away from Oz The Great And Powerful. Ugh.