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Subtitled: Judy

Rupert Goold

Acclaimed theatre director Rupert Goold brings the poignant story of Judy Garland’s final performances to the big screen with the help of an extraordinary performance by Renée Zellweger. Channelling the great singer, she manages to capture the fragility, dignity and steely determination of someone whose life was dedicated to her music, her fans, and a desperate need for acceptance.

"...a remarkable portrayal of a remarkable woman, sensitively handled."

In the winter of 1968, showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in swinging London to perform in a sell-out run at the Talk Of The Town. Thirty years have passed since she shot to stardom in The Wizard Of Oz, but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. This booking is a financial lifeline for Garland, who is desperate to keep custody of her children. Preparing for the show, she battles with management and fights health issues, but she also manages to charm musicians and reminisce with friends and adoring fans. Through all her troubles her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of romance seem undimmed as she embarks on a courtship with Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock), her soon-to-be fifth husband. But Judy is fragile – after working for 45 of her 47 years, she is exhausted; haunted by memories of a childhood lost to Hollywood; and gripped by a desire to be back home with her kids.

Bittersweet, this is a remarkable portrayal of a remarkable woman, sensitively handled, that leaves you with the feeling that more should have been done to protect her. As society only now begins to fully understand the pressures that showbusiness puts on women, Judy is a reminder of not only the talent but the tragedy that underscored some of Garland’s most well-loved songs.