Judy, the film version of ‘End of the Rainbow’, opened on Thursday and I was one of the first in the queue to see it. The film tells the story of the last year in the troubled life of movie icon Judy Garland, when she was forced to come to England to perform in order to raise funds to fight for the custody of her youngest children Joey and Lorna. Despite her worldwide fame and iconic movie career, she was broke and homeless, and so came to England for a lucrative gig at The Talk of the Town nightclub. But her prescription drug abuse, with tablets to help her stay awake, and sleep, made her a nervous, unreliable performer, but one she capable of making magic. 6 months after the tour ended, Judy died at the age of 47, a tragic end to what had been both an incredible and often awful life.
Renee Zellweger is brilliant as Judy, totally bringing the legend to life with her mannerisms and facial expressions, as well as storming the musical numbers like ‘The Trolley Song’ and ‘I’m gonna love you’. I was also really impressed with Jessie Buckley as Rosalyn, Judy’s no nonsense personal assistant during the London run, giving the character an almost ‘jolly hockey sticks’ head girl approach that totally works.
From a style perspective, Judy is a dream film. Set in 1969, the high end fashion sported by Judy was a combination of 1960s era Pucci prints and capri pants, and beautiful evening gowns as befitting her role on the stage at ‘The Talk of the Town’. Her wedding outfit to Mickey Deans has been faithfully recreated, and other costumes are very reminiscent of real photographs of Judy taken during those last months of her life, and during those last performances.
Judy is a wonderful film that is a great tribute to one of the most wonderful talents who ever graced film, as well as being a cautionary tale of how the movie industry could chew talent up and spit it out once it became a problem, even if the cause of the problem had been Hollywood itself.