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Rupert Goold’s ‘Judy’ attempts to capture the greatness of Judy Garland, but misses the mark. (Photo provided via @Hello_Tailor on Twitter)

Film Review: ‘Judy’ is a dull film about a shining star

Judy is the highly discussed biopic about Judy Garland. The drama film stars Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland — focusing on her final years, mostly 1969, the year of her death. While also diving into her teen years, the movie chronicles Garland’s life as a teen actress in Hollywood, filming The Wizard of Oz (1939) and her relationships with Mickey Rooney and producer Louis B. Mayer. 

Director Rupert Goold’s shots are mostly flat and not dynamic. There is not much visual appeal in the film, aside from colorful costuming. Even in sequences where Garland is performing, camerawork is simple, slow and basic. Moments that should be explosive — or if anything, reflective of Garland’s explosive voice — are just forgettable and disappointing.

Viewers may not be able to tell fact from fiction. The film features gay couple, Stan (Daniel Cerqueia) and Dan (Andy Nyman), super-fans of Garland, whom Garland meets and befriends after a show. In reality, that couple never existed and is a fabrication of the film. It is perhaps an allusion to Garland’s very real status as an LGBTQ icon, but the characters, nonetheless, were not real people. 

Though some characters are fiction, the film is carried by solid performances by the entire cast. Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery) is the perfect, looming presence, and almost antagonist of the film. Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) plays a kind figure in the film, as Garland’s last husband. Even Stan and Dan, respectively, are charming characters. 

If there is any justice for Garland’s iconic place in pop culture history, it is found in Zellweger’s seamless performance. Zellweger sells Garland’s lifetime of love and pain by embodying her mannerisms, posture and way of speaking. The actress clearly worked hard to learn about Garland on more than just a character-level — portraying a real person, not a fictional character.

It is almost a forgettable film, a more expensive Lifetime movie, that leaves either a bad impression or no impression at all. Those who are curious about Garland or don’t know much might benefit more from reading her Wikipedia page

Zellweger’s performance is what makes this film note-worthy. If Judy gets any Oscar buzz, it will be due to its leading lady. 

Judy is currently playing at the Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St. 

@_kerijohnson

kj153517@ohio.edu  

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