Saturday, October 5, 2019

Judy [2019]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB () (2 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB () review
Los Angeles Times (K, Turan) review (M. Castillo) review
AVClub (C. Siede) review

Judy [2019] (directed by Rupert Goold, screenplay by Tom Edge based on the stageplay "The End of the Raindbow" by Peter Quilter) tells the story of the last year of Hollywood legend Judy Garland's [wikip] [IMDb] life as a troubled but still top-billed night-club singer in ... London.  She died there, of an ... accidental barbiturate overdose at 47 in 1969.  What happened to the teenage Dorothy of Wizard of Oz [1939] fame?  Well, life ...

And it was not a particularly good one.  We do get to see the costs of fame in Mid-20th Century Hollywood (1930s-1960s).  To a large extent therefore, the film follows a well beaten path.  One needs only to think of Sunset Blvd [1950].

Still, just because "we've heard the story before," doesn't make it untrue.  And it honestly MAY BE USEFUL for people be reminded from time to time what "costs of fame" are.

Here we see the effects of thirty years of "studio management" on the life of one of its biggest stars, Judy Garland (played as a teenager by Darci Shaw and later as an adult by Renee Zellwiger) who "captured America's hearts" as the wide-eyed innocent / naive Alice in Wonderland like teenager Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz [1939] and yet was even then mercilessly reminded that she could be replaced AT ANY TIME by any number of OTHER wide-eyed, innocent / naive "girl next door" types even arguably more attractive than she was, "So SHUT UP, take the 1930s-era diet and sleeping pills that we're giving you, and just DO WHAT WE SAY..."

We thankfully live now in the #MeToo era, where the worst of this abuse is being progressively exposed.  Yet while there was no indication in the film that Garland was sexually abused by her studio bosses / handlers, the film story makes clear that the Studios and their managers basically _owned_ their "stars" in any case, especially their younger ones, and almost inevitably turned them into the basket cases that we come to read about in the tabloids in their later years. 

Is it worth it?  Do these poor people even know what they're getting into? 

Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, here Judy Garland ... Pray for us.

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