Here's Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland in a New Trailer

There’s a new trailer out for the upcoming Judy Garland biopic, and you can get your closest look yet at Renée Zellweger’s transformation into the star. It looks like a good, old-fashioned tear-jerker, in keeping with the facts of Garland’s life.

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The movie is set in 1968, the last year of Garland’s life before she overdosed at 47. While music biopics easily settle into a dangerously formulaic structure—aren’t they all basically Walk Hard?—it’s a good time for a cultural reevaluation of Garland, along the lines of Feud: Bette and Joan. Thelma Adams wrote at Variety in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations:

Mayer also allegedly groped the teenage Judy Garland, according to Gerald Clarke’s book “Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland,” and held meetings with the young woman seated on his lap, his hands on her chest. But that wasn’t the only damage done to the “Wizard of Oz” star. As Rickey clarifies, when it comes to abuse, “it’s not just the casting couch — it’s also the producer[s] who tell Judy Garland she’s not pretty enough or thin enough, so she gets a nose job and starts taking amphetamines to stay employed, and nobody knows that amphetamines and drinking can’t mix, and the pills lead to instability and sleeplessness and sleeping pills and more instability, and she falls apart.”

Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli is not happy, however. After a story from Radar about how she’d supposedly bonded with Zellweger over the movie, Vanity Fair reported, she posted on Facebook:

“I have never met nor spoken to Renee Zellweger . . .” Minnelli wrote on Facebook, linking to the article. “I don’t know how these stories get started, but I do not approve nor sanction the upcoming film about Judy Garland in any way. Any reports to the contrary are 100% Fiction.”

The movie comes out in September—prime time for the Oscar race.

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DISCUSSION

skoc211
skoc211

Disagree that this movie is being set up for the Oscar race, even if that might have been what was originally intended. The fact that it’s being released in late September - which is just outside of the awards season window - is telling. I’m a huge fan of Zellweger, but other than a very passing resemblance to Judy in these clips it just read as Zellweger very blandly singing some of Judy’s songs. Judy was so distinct in so many ways that I understand the need not to turn a performance like this into parody or a bad impression, but she just wasn’t giving me anything that came off as Judy Garland.