By Liz Lopez
Many people of a certain age may remember watching “The Wizard of Oz” and the female lead, Judy Garland. The new film, “Judy,” starring Renee Zellweger is not set during the time of “The Wizard of Oz,” but the audience certainly will see some scenes of her youth and what her life was like working with the powerful MGM studio head, Louis B. Mayer. Individuals who do not know of that part of her life may be surprised, if not horrified, at what this teen actress had to endure for her career. Take the tissues with you to the theater. Zellweger’s performance is outstanding as she takes the audience members into the world that Judy lived in and how she aspired to never be forgotten.
“Judy” is an adaptation of Peter Quilter’s stage play, “End of the Rainbow” and is directed by Rupert Goold. The story is set in the late 1960s, as her career is fading in Hollywood and yet she maintains her popularity in London. Life at this age is not easy as she struggles to support the two younger children she has with her former husband, Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell). It is heartbreaking to see her leave the children with him when she is at her lowest and she is devastated.
Her eldest child, Liza Minnelli, is now an adult and they hang out at a house party. With nowhere to go, she accepts to work in London at The Talk of the Town nightclub. Her depression and insomnia are ever present and all she knows to do is pops pills. There are a few flashbacks to her days at MGM and the control the studio had over her, including a very restricted diet to keep her a certain size, with a steady diet of barbiturates and amphetamines that lead to a lifelong struggle.
One of my favorite scenes from this story about Garland in London is when she becomes friends with two adoring fans, Stan and Dan. She dines with them at their apartment and Dan (Andy Nyman) has a very touching scene with her about how special Judy is to many.
Audiences will be very pleased to hear some of her best-known songs, and will no doubt want to sing along with this great entertainer who comes to life through Zellweger’s amazing and emotional performance.
It is all of this and more about Garland that we learn about her life shortly before her death at age 47.
In Theaters September 27
Source: Roadside Attractions