Release Year: 2019
Director: Rupert Goold
Writers: Tom Edge (screenplay), Peter Quilter (based on his 2005 musical stageplay End of the Rainbow)
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Royce Pierreson, Richard Cordery, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Bella Ramsey, Andy Nyman, Phil Dunster, Darci Shaw, John Dalgleish
Legendary actress and entertainer Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) is down on her luck and travels to London in the Winter of 1968 to give a final series of sold out concerts.
Biopics can sometimes feel like a dime a dozen, and as they quickly feel formulaic, much depends on the central performance. The same is true of Rupert Goold’s (True Story, 2015) biopic about the final months in the life of Judy Garland (A Star is Born, 1954). Renée Zellweger (Chicago, 2002) is great as Garland, capturing her mannerisms and singing extremely well, and given a vulnerable and nuanced portrayal that cuts to the heart. Garland was undoubtedly a tortured soul and she did not have the easiest life. The film is worth seeing for Zellweger’s performance, which earned her a second Oscar. The film tells the story of Garland’s concert series in London the winter before her death; she is marked by financial ruin and a failing health but when she gets on stage with a clear mind she remains captivating. The film does a good job of showing the deep impact she had on lives through her music as well as the bond she had with an audience. From time to time, the film cuts back to the beginning of her career, which feels disruptive of the flow of the story. The flashbacks dwell on a possbile source of her misery, but there is plenty of meat on the bones of the main part of the story to keep us entertained. In conclusion, the film is mediocre in terms of biopics, but Zellweger’s performance is excellent and the film’s greatest asset. Recommended.
Liza Minnelli, who appears shortly in the film, stated before the film’s release that she ha not met with Zellweger nor did she condone the project in any way.
Picture Copyright: Scanbox