Run time: 118 mins
Set in 1969, the year before her death, Renée Zellweger embodies Hollywood icon Judy Garland. The film explores (with a little sugar) the lows of the star’s career and personal life. Departing from the glamorous image we have of those Hollywood days, Garland here is broke and desperate for a come-back after her glory days have long gone. When theatrical impresario Bernard Delfont (Michael Gambon in peerless smarm) invites her to a five-week run of shows at a London nightclub (as the greaseball did ‘for’ Laurel & Hardy). She accepts, leaving her children behind with ex-husband (Rufus Sewell). Despite the love pouring in from her fans, Garland is struggling behind the scenes with a long history of the usual addictions. Through a series of flashbacks to her traumatic childhood, young Judy (Darci Shaw) connects the dots between what she suffered as a child star and her current dependencies. So fairly useless and in rags, she tests the patience of assistant Rosalyn Wilder (Jessie Buckley) and hooks new lover Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock). “Zellweger offers an all-singing, all-dancing, all-collapsing performance of the star at her lowest ebb” (Variety). (research Rachel Williams) Strong ironic choice of come-back star: Renée Zellweger. Begging Oscars all round…?