Indie film of the week #2: Judy (2019)

About a month ago, I decided to start watching at least one movie each week. Now that’s it’s October and spooky season is here, most of my nights are filled watching horror and sci-fi classics. It’s what I do every year. But to change things up and get out of a funk, I decided to pick a wildcard movie of the week on Netflix or Prime and write a review

The challenge

The challenge is to watch one indie film each week and write a blog post about it. The rules are simple. It can’t be a movie I’ve seen before. It has to be considered or labelled as an “independent film” on Netflix or Prime. And it has to be something I know very little about. Mainly, I just go through the list of indie films and click on a random movie to what happens.

My watch list is growing full of independent films that I’m looking forward to watching. Some films are really great while others are a miss. I watched The Starling with Melissa McCarthy last week and I LOVED it despite the film receiving harsh reviews from critics.

I have a certain set of things I look for in a film that makes it a hit or miss for me. That’s how I’ll rate movies – hit or miss. But everyone has their own tastes, and unless a movie is truly awful, I won’t tell you not to watch it. I’ll let you be the judge of how good it is.

What I look for:

  • Overall storyline – is it unique?
  • Acting – it’s all about who stars in the film and if I like the actor or not
  • Music – a film with a great soundtrack is always worth it in my books
  • Scenery – films like Life of Pie with stunning scenery will always get in my good graces
  • Writing – is it good or consistent? Are there too many plot holes?

I love musicals and anything to do with biographies or historical figures. So, be prepared for some musicals in this list. I loved the Elton John biopic and the soundtrack was just so great.


Cast and Crew

Directed by: Rupert Goold

Screenplay: Tom Edge, Peter Quilter

Based on: End of the Rainbow (stage play)

Genre: Independent Film, Biography, Music

Cast: Renee Zellweger, Finn Wittrock


Storyline

Judy Garland was a beloved child star, singer and actress who was most known for her role of Dorothy in the hit film The Wizard of Oz (1939). Judy is portrayed by Renée Zellweger who is almost unrecognizable in this role with short black hair. Her voice however is unmistakable. Zellweger has an impressive resume but she is most known for her role as Bridget in Bridget Jones Diary and also for movies like Jerry MacGuire, White Oleander and a really good horror film called Case 39.

The beginning of the film takes place over 30 years after Oz was released. Judy is kicked out of her hotel due to her account being in arrears. Judy is drowning in debt and faces a custody battle for her children. Throughout the film, we see flashbacks to the early days where Judy was in her prime and we see the development of her relationship with her fifth husband, Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock).

We see glimpses of Judy’s past and how she was treated by her handlers. Basically at this stage in her life, Judy is a hot mess and is still reeling from trauma she suffered as a child star. Judy moves to London to return to the stage and her adoring fans.

And that’s all I’ll tell you at this point. You’ll have to watch the film to find out the rest for yourself.


Official Trailer


Soundtrack

I admit. I was a Judy fan growing up. Meet Me in St. Louis is a film I watch every December. The Trolley Song is still one of my favorites. Other songs included are Get Happy, Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Come Rain or Come Shine.

And before you ask, yes, Zellweger is actually singing in those scenes. She worked with a well known coach to prepare for the movie and she did a wonderful job.


Critics and Awards

For some reason I wasn’t in the mood for Judy when it hit theatres in 2019. The film won many awards and the critics gushed about it. Zellweger’s performance here would lead to her winning an Oscar. Here is her acceptance speech from the ceremony. I’m glad I finally sat down to watch it. I used to love Renee back in her Bridget Jones Diary day, and I’m glad she is doing well and is being recognized for her talent.


My thoughts

Overall I enjoyed the film and the music. Zellweger’s performance was top notch as usual. I didn’t recognize anyone else in the cast which is unusual for a movie buff like me.

What I would have liked to see was more flashbacks into Judy’s childhood and more of her backstory. Movies like this definitely help to expose the corruption in Hollywood and especially the abuse that child actors face. We still see this today with stars like Brittney Spears. But we only see a small part of this in the film.

The ending of Judy really hit me hard. I didn’t expect to cry but I did. All you need to watch is just one song – Over the Rainbow – and you’ll know what I mean.

To finish this post off, let’s watch a Judy Garland classic.


Hit or miss

If you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz or Judy Garland, then I recommend giving this film a try. This endearing and emotional film is worthy of a watch.


The challenge so far

Indie Film #1: The Starling

Movies: Midnight in Paris

More movie recommendations: movies


Watch Party

Interested in “watching” films with me? If so, suggest a film below! Definitely follow my blog for weekly posts like this. They will be posted on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings.

2 thoughts on “Indie film of the week #2: Judy (2019)

  1. Recently watched Midnight in Paris on your recommendation and loved it. A fun lighthearted flick. Thank you!

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