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Judy (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byRupert Goold
Screenplay byTom Edge
Based onEnd of the Rainbow
by Peter Quilter
Produced byDavid Livingstone
CinematographyOle Bratt Birkeland
Edited byMelanie Oliver
Music byGabriel Yared
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 30 August 2019 (2019-08-30) (Telluride)
  • 27 September 2019 (2019-09-27) (United States)
  • 2 October 2019 (2019-10-02) (United Kingdom)
Running time
118 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • France
Budget$10 million[3]
Box office$46 million[4][2]

Judy is a 2019 biographical drama film based on the life of American entertainer Judy Garland. Directed by Rupert Goold, it is an adaptation of the Olivier- and Tony-nominated West End and Broadway play End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter. The film stars Renée Zellweger,[5][6] Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, and Michael Gambon.[7][8]

The film follows Garland's career during the last year of her life, when she relocated her stage career to England, coupled with flashbacks of her childhood, most prominently the shooting of her part as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939), her most famous film role. After some initial success in a run of sell-out concerts at the Talk of the Town in London, her efforts eventually stop making progress and even start to worsen as her health deteriorates.

Judy premiered at the 46th Telluride Film Festival on 30 August 2019, and was released in the United States on 27 September 2019, and in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2019. The film received generally positive reviews, with Zellweger's performance garnering widespread acclaim. For her portrayal of Garland, Zellweger won the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as the Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, BAFTA Award and Critics' Choice Movie Award.


In the 1930s, 16-year-old actress Judy Garland is told by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio head, Louis B. Mayer on the set of The Wizard of Oz, that she has a gift other girls do not. Her singing talent is nearly unmatched while she is able to surpass the success of Shirley Temple as a Hollywood child star. As her career takes off, Judy is forced by a ruthless studio minder to take amphetamines against her will; one such instance occurs during her date with Mickey Rooney. She is even denied permission to sleep due to the demanding schedule. Responding to Judy's criticisms, Mayer explains that she is exhausted by her working hours; even using emotional and physical intimidation to keep her in line.

In her forties, Judy has been performing with Lorna and Joey, her two children from her marriage to Sidney Luft, her third husband. Later, the trio try to check into their hotel but are turned away for previous nonpayment. Because of this, Judy is forced to return home to Sidney, who has since divorced her.

At a party, Judy meets nightclub owner Mickey Deans, and they become friends. In 1968, she is told by her agent of England being free to host her upcoming performances, but that the U.S. reception to her has cooled due to her performance unreliability and moodiness. She decides to embark for there, leaving Lorna and Joey with Sidney, which is difficult for her.

While in England, substance abuse keeps Judy from performing reliably. She is late to her London premiere and assistants are called upon to check on her health and fix her make-up. The fans are enthusiastic and her performance is excellent. During the show, she starts to sing the "Clang, clang, clang..." lyrics to "The Trolley Song" to loud applause.

Judy meets two adoring gay fans at the stage door on her way out and joins them for a late-night snack at their flat. They bond over their difficulties, and she sings "Get Happy" while one of the fans plays the piano. Deans comes to London on a surprise visit, which cheers her up. She still has trouble making her stage performances on time because of substance abuse and anxiety.

Her sponsoring British agent has Judy examined by a voice specialist doctor. She says she had a tracheotomy two years prior, which weakened her voice. The doctor diagnoses physical and mental exhaustion, which requires rest for recovery. Her relationship with Deans is a support to her personal life, and they marry, making him her fifth husband. She still thinks about Lorna and Joey and suffers from being separated from them. They, however, are happy in school in California. Deans has bad news about a money deal that fell through, which means she must stay in England to make ends meet. At her next performance, Judy passes out on stage and is heckled. Her singing engagement is terminated but she returns for a final night on stage, where she asks to perform one last song. She breaks down while singing "Over the Rainbow" but recovers with the encouragement of supportive fans and is able to complete the performance. She asks, "You won't forget me, will you?" to the audience, who applaud before she ends her performance by saying, "Promise you won't." The film's end card says Judy died six months later, in summer 1969, aged 47.



Principal photography began on 19 March 2018, in London. Filming locations included West London Film Studios.[9] Pinewood Studios,[10] and Hackney Empire.


The soundtrack for the film was released on 28 September 2019 by Decca Records. It features twelve of Garland's most popular tracks performed by Zellweger, including several that were featured in the movie, as well as duets with Sam Smith and Rufus Wainwright.


The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on 30 August 2019.[11][12] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on 10 September 2019.[13] It was theatrically released in the United States on 27 September 2019, by Roadside Attractions and LD Entertainment, and in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2019, by 20th Century Fox, Pathé's British Distributor.[1][14][15][16]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $24.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $18.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $43.2 million.[4][2]

The film made $2.9 million in its opening weekend, from 461 theatres, finishing seventh at the box office; 60% of its audiences was female, while 79% were over the age of 35.[17][18] It expanded to 1,458 theatres the following weekend and made $4.6 million, finishing sixth, before making $3.2 million in its third weekend, returning to seventh place.[19][20]

Critical response[edit]

Renée Zellweger garnered critical acclaim for her performance as Judy Garland, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress.

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 82% based on 339 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The website's consensus reads, "Led by a deeply committed performance from Renée Zellweger, Judy captures the waning days of a beloved performer with clear-eyed compassion."[21] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[22] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[18]

Zellweger garnered much critical acclaim for her performance in the title role, with several critics labelling her a frontrunner to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, which she would later go on to win.[23] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called her portrayal of Garland "the performance of the year",[24] while Zoe Gahan of Vanity Fair wrote, "a stellar stage-stomping performance. It is hard to tell where Garland stops and Zellweger starts... Go and see this film. Laugh and weep, bawl your eyes out—she deserves every tear."[25] Eric Kohn of IndieWire gave the film a "C", stating that "Zellweger inhabits the role of the jaded, soul-searching musical icon reasonably well within a dreary and unremarkable saga that finds her grappling with her past, contending with pill-popping addictions and a broken family. It's a familiar story that Judy struggles to freshen up, at least until Zellweger takes the mic."[26]

Monica Castillo of RogerEbert.com gave the film two out of four stars; though she praised how it contextualized Garland's abusive childhood, she criticized Goold's direction and Zellweger's performance, stating that "there are spots in the movie where Zellweger's affected manners become too distracting and overshadow everything else around her...Try as she might, Zellweger's Judy never goes beyond an impression of the multi-talented artist; her all-caps version of acting fails to allow the role to feel natural."[27]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
AACTA Awards 3 January 2020 Best International Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated [28]
AARP's Movies For Grownups Awards 11 January 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won [29]
Best Time Capsule Judy Nominated
Academy Awards 9 February 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won [30]
Best Makeup and Hairstyling Jeremy Woodhead Nominated
British Academy Film Awards 2 February 2020 Best Actress in a Leading Role Renée Zellweger Won [31]
Best Costume Design Jany Temime Nominated
Best Makeup and Hair Jeremy Woodhead Nominated
British Independent Film Awards 1 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won [32]
Best Cinematography Ole Bratt Birkeland Nominated
Best Costume Design Jany Temime Nominated
Best Make Up & Hair Design Jeremy Woodhead Won
Best Production Design Kave Quinn Nominated
Casting Society of America 30 January 2020 Studio or Independent – Drama Fiona Weir and Alice Searby Nominated [33]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 12 January 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won [34]
Best Hair and Makeup Judy Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society 9 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated
Breakthrough Performance Jessie Buckley Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards 19 March 2020 Outstanding Film – Wide Release Judy Nominated [35]
Golden Globe Awards 5 January 2020 Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Renée Zellweger Won [36]
Grammy Awards 14 March 2021 Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Judy – Renée Zellweger Nominated [37]
Hollywood Critics Association 9 January 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated [38][39]
Best Hair and Makeup Judy Nominated
Hollywood Film Awards 3 November 2019 Hollywood Actress Award Renée Zellweger Won [40]
Houston Film Critics Society 2 January 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won [41]
Independent Spirit Awards 8 February 2020 Best Female Lead Renée Zellweger Won [42]
London Film Critics Circle 30 January 2020 Actress of the Year Renée Zellweger Won [43]
National Board of Review 8 January 2020 Top 10 Independent Films Judy Won [44]
Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival 2 January 2020 Desert Palm Achievement Award Renée Zellweger Won [45]
San Diego Film Critics Society 9 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Runner-up [46]
Breakthrough Artist Jessie Buckley Nominated
Santa Barbara International Film Festival 16 January 2020 American Riviera Award Renée Zellweger Won [47]
Satellite Awards 19 December 2019 Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Renée Zellweger Nominated [48]
Best Costume Design Jany Temime Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards 19 January 2020 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Renée Zellweger Won [49]
St. Louis Film Critics Association 15 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association 8 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated


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External links[edit]