Stage, screen and music legends are instantly recognised by a single name only. Marilyn. Elvis. Madonna. Prince. Cher. Elton. Bono. Adele.
It underscores the prominence of the star and makes it seem as if we're on a first name basis with someone who exists in the stratosphere, far from our everyday suburban lives.
Judy is another name that fans and devotees will immediately recognise.
But for those who don't, we're talking about Judy Garland from the golden era of Hollywood stars. Although you may know her by her other single name, Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz.
If you don't recognise her, it highlights the dilemma in which Garland found herself in 1969, when her legendary status was fading.
Judy is not a bio pic that tries to capture the entirety of Judy Garland's career. It presents the last year of her life as she struggles with depression, addiction to prescription medications and alcoholism.
That doesn't sound like the glamourous lifestyle we envisage for a screen legend.
In her final years, during the 60s cultural revolution, Garland, through financial mismanagement and poor life choices, is suffocating from massive debts, which means she can't provide a home for her children.
She embarks on a tour of England, where she is still adored, to make money and resurface from her debts.
The tour begins successfully but soon unravels due to Garland's personal insecurities and various addictions. On her good nights she is fabulous. On her bad nights, she is a mess. And the audiences react appropriately.
Judy does have flashbacks to her early years as a child actor at MGM and the atrocious Louie B Mayer who cajoles and brutalises Garland, to the point that she turns to prescription pills to control her weight and manage her intense workload. She takes uppers when she's down and downers when she's up.
Her teenage dependence on medications becomes an adult affliction.
We only get a glimpse at the tragedy that underlies Garland's life. The glamour of stardom is consumed by the tragic events of her personal life, stemming from her desire to be loved. But the only love she values is the love generated by her audience. She comes alive when she's on-stage.
Real life people disappoint her because they manipulate and control her. Judy is a statement about Garland's dependence on the love and acclaim she receives from her fans.
Her life and her personality ignite when she performs.
Renee Zellweger captures Garland's mannerisms accurately to convey a sense of Judy but not to the point of caricature. It's even more amazing that Zellweger sings the songs herself. There is no voice-over singer.
Judy is an autopsy of Garland's final year as a legendary performer. It bares her psychological scars and sadly and genuinely captures the tragedy of fading stardom.
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