I am not completely sure where a biopic on Judy Garland stands on the wokescale these days, but it does appear to be something that one can strip away from other roles that would seem to be more popularly beloved; honestly I do not know what type of love that the woman playing Harriet Tubman is getting (other than at one point Julia Roberts was getting some attention), but it seems like…some good woman is getting attention for Best Actress? I dunno, I'm just asking.
Anyway, Tom Edge adapted Peter Quilter's stageplay that Rupert Goold (True Story) directed. The focus of the story is the several years Garland spent in London before her accidental overdose in 1969. Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones's Baby) plays Garland, bouncing back into her past two decades prior as she decides how she Is supposed to move forward both within her personal lives (portrayed by Darci Shaw) and her cinematic one.
I was surprised by a couple of things during Judy, the first being the attention paid to the characters played in the film (a not insignificant number) in the production; not that I wasn't impressed, but the fact that the story behind Judy is somewhat formulaic, hat Garland doesn't put you within the story based on her circumstances and on her treatment isn't something to marvel at. As one who watched Garland's degradation through the years I was surprised.
I'm not sure if those who knew Garland were playing to those empathies or not, but the film does a wonderful job of showing the exploitation of sympathies to a caring woman who wanted her music to get out to the wider avenue possible, given her avenue in life. It's not that her work was consciously being ignored, but Garland's work, or Zelllweger's performance therein sure conveyed how difficult it was for her to get the kind of work she desired.
It's not that Judy is the blatant Oscar vehicle that it is or is perceived to be, but it is something that would be a little more paid attention to were it something that had more attention, regardless of whether it was a vehicle to the popular cause or not. It is a shame that it is a bigger sin to the disconnected those than to are the larger candidates for connection, but we're here for larger reasons that this review:The Blu-ray:
The AVC encode that befits Judy is impressive at times; closer shots of Judy have a good amount of image detail to them, but in the concert sequences, you can spot her hair and costumes against the balance of the backdrop, and the colors look natural against the background against the palette also. Overall Universal presents a good palette for the balance of the film.The Sound:
I liked the DTS HD-MA lossless 5.1 audio presentation. The dialogue was consistent and the musical performances had a good amount of dynamic range, while the dialogue forward performances had a good amount of immersion and channel panning. It has a good amount of low-end to balance out the Garland songs while maintaining an immersive experience for the audience, and overall it's a solid soundtrack.Extras:
Not all that much, which is a big ole' furt noise from me. You have a stills gallery along with a trailer (1:13), and a making of piece on on the film (4:05) which examines the material, the challenge of singings, on Garland and the like.Final Thoughts:
Renee Zellweger's performance in the Judy Garland biopic is the type of thing which won't surprise me if it won a crapton of awards while being popularly maligned and scarcely seen, but it's really good and the type of work that transcends a single year of critical praise. Technically it's what you would expect, even if the extras are not, and well worth seeing for the price of Zellweger's work alone.