03 October 2019, The Tablet

Star fall

Star fall

director: Rupert Goold

The pathos of a legend in eclipse has become a standard movie tear-jerker, and no legend fell so far or so hard as Judy Garland. Her very name seems to carry a warning of the terrible things Hollywood can do to you. Judy, adapted from Peter Quilter’s stage play and directed by Rupert Goold, has a big theatrical clout but not much in the way of nuance. It’s straight from the one-feeling-at-a-time school of biopics, held together by Renée Zellweger (pictured) in a huge title performance. 

The structure is twofold. It centres upon the chaotic last year of Garland’s life (she died in 1969, aged 47) when her career seemed all but finished. Broke and homeless, she was in a custody dispute over her two young children with ex-husband Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell) and so addicted to pills she must have rattled.

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