Tag Archives: Renée Zellweger

Judy (2019) Movie Review By D.M. Anderson


Judy Review

Director: Rupert Goold
Writers: Tom Edge (screenplay by), Peter Quilter (based on the stageplay “End of the Rainbow” by)
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Rufus Sewell, Jessie Buckley

Right away, this film makes one thing quite clear: Judy Garland was doomed from the start.

The opening scene sees young Judy on the set of The Wizard of Oz, torn between choosing stardom or life as a normal child. Mentor Louis B. Mayer lays it out with the tone of the loving parent – which she never had – but the words of a cold, calculating businessman, essentially saying she’ll amount to nothing without him.

Thus began the journey down that yellow brick road which would ultimately lead to Garland’s death at the age of 47.

But Judy doesn’t chronicle her downward spiral. The film focuses on the final months of her life, when Garland (Renee Zellweger) is a physical and emotional train wreck. She’s alarmingly unhealthy, dependent on booze and prescription drugs to keep going. She loves her two children but is essentially homeless and can’t take care of them, ultimately losing custody to her most recent ex-husband, Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell). And despite still possessing a tremendous singing voice, Garland is virtually unemployable.

Until she’s offered a series of shows in London, where she’s still very popular. Initially reluctant, she takes the offer but proves to be wildly unpredictable both on and off the stage. Despite efforts by hired assistant Rosalyn (Jessie Buckley) and soon-to-be-fifth husband Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) to keep her focused, Judy slips further into drunkenness, depression and mental exhaustion, burning most of her remaining bridges along the way.

But rather than focusing on the more lurid aspects of this time in her life, Judy presents its subject as the tragic figure she really was. Just a few key flashbacks of her childhood – every aspect of it controlled by studio moguls, including her drug use – renders the entire film rather heartbreaking. As presented here, all Garland ultimately wanted was to love and be loved. But in the end, little was left but self-pity and remorse.

Much has already been written and said about Zellweger’s affecting performance, which is indeed the main reason the film rises above its fairly rudimentary screenplay and some suspicious contrivances to press all the right emotional buttons. Playing Garland as bitchy and endearing, forceful and needy, it’s a complex portrayal that goes well beyond mere caricature. She also does her own singing and if you squint hard enough, her resemblance to Garland is sometimes uncanny (especially when she’s on stage).

Zellweger has already won a few awards for her performance, as well as a Golden Globe Nomination. At this point, yet-another Oscar nod appears to be in the bag, too. Since biographic dramas usually sink or swim with their star, all of those accolades are well-deserved. She gives Judy the poignant punch needed to make it memorable.

The Whole Truth (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier


Director: Courtney Hunt
Writer: Nicholas Kazan (as Rafael Jackson)
Stars: Keanu Reeves,  Renée Zellweger,  Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Plot: A defense attorney works to get his teenage client acquitted of murdering his wealthy father.
Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes
IMDB Score: 6.1

Why I watched it: The cast, the trailer played like an 80′s thriller so there was that and I won’t lie the running time of 1 hour 33 minutes helped me watch it, I like shorter movies.

Random thoughts: You never know with Keanu Reeves, he’s been in some great genre films and others well not so much and he as an actor is very hit and miss his’ laid back approach sometimes really pays off and others he seems really miscast.  This film also kind of reminded me of Presumed Innocent  for some reason.

What I liked: This plays more like a film noir than a courtroom thriller, now with that being said a lot of this movie plays out in court so yes it’s very much a courtroom thriller but you throw in the dead husband who was wealthy and her son saying he did it but not speaking to anyone even his lawyer who also happens to be a family friend then this also qualifies as a film noir at least a little.

The film is pretty tight, not a lot of characters and really it turns into a mystery of who is the killer and of course why they did it.  The acting is pretty good across the board, Belushi is seen in flashbacks and is pretty slimy one of those rich guys everyone secreted hated.  Zellweger has a tricky role, she’s a grieving wife, a worried mother a possible liar.  She’s pretty good here I think she’s a tad miscast but she does her best. Reeves is pretty much like he always is likable but a bit wooded.  His character is kind of stuck with a client who won’t work with him and always the fact that he use to work with the victim and were friends.

There’s one thing in the film they do that I really like, the film uses flashbacks but during testimony as the witness  is answering questions we see what actually happened, so we get their version of the truth with the whole truth is you will.  The courtroom stuff is handled pretty well I think the film knows we’ve seen this kind of stuff a million times so they keep it quick and they keep things going towards the mystery of who did it.

My favorite part of the film is the ending and yes it’s a twist and it’s a good one, actually i didn’t see it, I went in a different direction, it’s a good twist and it works,  This isn’t a case of a screenwriter throwing in a twist to save a bad movie this makes the film more complex and better.

What I didn’t like: Th cast was fine but I do thing that the two leads played by Reeves and Zellweger could have benefited by different actors, a more femme fatalish  actress and a more gruff and  haggard actor, I see a younger Nick Nolte here.  There’s a sub-plot with a lawyer helping Reeves’ character and they give her backstory and she’s fine but she and her backstory play no part in the film, she’s more of a red herring.

Final verdict: I liked it for the most part a solid mystery and like I said I liked the twist, it’s always nice when a film surprises you.
Rating: 7/10