Movie Review: 'Judy' with Renee Zellweger

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's the closest Hollywood gets to an impossible task...matching the late, great Judy Garland note for note. Watching Renee Zellweger embody this icon on stage and humanize her off stage is wondrous to behold.

Renee as Judy says towards the end of the film, "I just want what everybody wants, I seem to have a harder time getting it."

"Judy" takes a look at the last year of the entertainer's life, when she didn't have a home to call her own, when her ex-husband threatened to take away her son, Joey, and her daughter, Lorna Luft. The girl says to her mother late one night, "Mom, please don't go to sleep now. Mom replies, "Nah, these are the other ones."

Pills to stay awake and pills to go to sleep had been part of Garland's life since she was a teenager filming, "The Wizard of Oz," but her difficult childhood gets trivialized here in a few brief flashbacks.

By the time she arrived at London's Talk of The Town nightclub in London in 1968, by the time she married a much younger man there, the star was an emotional and physical wreck.

Contemporary photos of her show the ravages of drugs and alcohol better than any scene in this movie, and by many accounts, the real Garland acted even crazier than Renee Zellweger does in "Judy."

Her performance is certainly Oscar-worthy and better than the movie itself. Zellweger has met the challenge of playing one of the most talented singers and dynamic performers ever to grace a stage, but the complex life of Judy Garland deserves a more subtle film - and a more honest presentation.
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