2019 Film Reviews – 50: Judy [dir. Rupert Goold; 2019]

I don’t normally insist that films must possess a degree of contemporary relevance, but it’s hard to watch Judy without wondering why its creators felt this particular story had to be told now, and in this way. Yes, there are attempts to link Hollywood’s oppressive treatment of Judy Garland with current fears about movie moghuls’ abusive exploitation of women, but they frequently comes across as heavy-handed. And the story of a talented individual battling both internal and external demons certainly has the potential to make for compelling viewing, but in Goold’s hands, it offers little that we haven’t seen before. Sadly, if it weren’t for Renee Zellweger’s twitchy, fragile performance in the title role, this would be completely forgettable fare, destined to be flung onto the pile of all the other uninspired biopics.


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