I will be the first to admit that I thought that Judy was going to be another Oscar-bait, old Hollywood, schlocky-type film. I was partially correct. Currently sitting at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, I kind of fell in love with this little guy. I’m one of those people that reallllly enjoys a good biopic – I have enjoyed the surge of them in the past few years (I’m looking at you, Rocketman, and yes, even you, Bohemian Rhapsody), so yes, I have a biased interest coming into this one.
Going into Judy, I had very little knowledge of what Judy Garland’s life actually looked like. I knew she died young and I knew she had a turbulent childhood in showbiz and that… that is about it, my friends. Do I feel like I know now? Kind of.
The absolute heart of this movie lies with Renee. This is a performance that you can just tell Renee Zellweger poured herself into. Before the Oscars and before seeing Judy, I was pretty sure that Renee was going home with Best Actress and the reasons for that are clear: a movie about Hollywood – check, a movie about a real life person complete with actress impersonating said person – check, historical biopic – check. It was a shoe-in. I finished watching the Oscars and said, man, I really wish that Renee Zellweger hadn’t won Best Actress and it should have 100% gone to Saiorse… but now that I’ve actually seen the movie (funny how that changes an opinion), I see it. I see it and I understand it.
If ever there was a Renee performance that deserved Best Actress, it was this one. Her performance is tragic and her performance is fabulous. You can’t help but watch her and you can’t help but love her. I truly forgot I was watching Renee and slipped into the mindset that I was watching Judy Garland’s life unfold on my TV screen.
That said, Renee is carrying the film on her back. Without Renee’s stunning performance, there is little to commend – the plot is thin, the supporting cast is mediocre at best, and the writing is just okay.
All in all, I enjoyed the film, but solely based on Renee’s performance. I do think that Judy will be remembered as time elapses, but I think people will remember Renee’s performance without remembering anything else about the film, which is a pretty okay thing to remember it for after all.