4/10 Much like the overcrowded superhero genre, music biopics are a very popular genre, with several films in that wheelhouse coming out just within the past year (“Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Rocketman”, etc.). And like any genre oversaturating the cinemas, each film really has to do something to stand out from all the other similar films. Unfortunately for “Judy”, nothing sets this movie apart from any other generic music biopic. A major problem with this movie is just how much of a downer it is. Most films, especially music biopics show the musician’s successes, rise to fame, triumphs, record breaking achievements, etc. in addition to all of the negativity like their downfall, drug abuse, quitting the band, divorce(s), rehab, etc. That balance of ups and downs is necessary but when you have all of the downs with none of the ups, it makes for a pretty grueling watch. Judy Garland, despite being a rather tragic figure, did have plenty of success and triumphs but this movie chooses to focus solely on the negatives. I am a fan of biopics focusing on a specific time frame in a person’s life (i.e. “Lincoln”), which this movie does, but it seems to pick a slightly uninteresting time period for Garland. There are flashbacks, which I found to be far more entertaining and which made flashing back to the present time period all that much more disappointing. This movie really offers nothing new that you haven’t already seen and the marriage that Garland has in this movie is so rushed and underdeveloped that you aren’t heart broken when things inevitably start to unravel. There are a few things this movie accomplishes, however. Most obvious, Renée Zellweger gives her best performance since “Chicago” and totally becomes Garland. I would not be surprised if a Best Actress nomination would come her way in the coming months. If you are a fan of acting, her performance is really the only reason you would want to check this movie out. The productions design, costume design and make-up are also extremely well done and the score is forgettable but does a fine job in the moment of transporting you back to its respective time period. I also enjoyed how this movie exposes what many of us already know, which is that Hollywood has a very long history of child abuse, unsafe working conditions, mistreating talent, etc. The trauma Garland endured as a child stayed with her until her untimely death and her lack of parental figures in addition to the deplorable actions of big wig Hollywood folks, ended up being her downfall. If you absolutely love Judy Garland and want to see a terrific lead performance, you could rent this once it leaves theaters but for everyone else, I wouldn’t recommend this generic, downer of a movie that starts to drag. If you want a far superior music biopic, you might have to look over the rainbow and past this one.
#AStarIsTorn / #DontJudgeJudy / #MistreatMeInStLouis / #NotATeamMayer / #JudyGlume / #BabesInHarms