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It's award season, and it's not award season unless we get some biopic dramas of famous people played by actors who want to win a shiny gold trophy! I know that sounds a bit cynical, but it's hard not to be fully aware of why biopic dramas get made, and why they get released around award season. Still, I can't be angry when this is when we get some of the best performances of the year, and that's no different than with the Judy Garland biopic drama, Judy, by director Rupert Goold.
Now, the biggest problem with most biopics, that sadly is in Judy, is that the lead actor is great, but everything else around it is middle of the road. Well, that's true here. The strongest element to Judy is Renee Zellweger as Judy. Sometimes her voice comes off as a little hokey, but for the most part, she brings it as Judy Garland at the lowest point of her career. You feel for her, and sympathize with how she was treated when she was the hottest ticket in Hollywood. Seriously, you just feel your skin crawl and are held back from throwing a drink at the screen any time her agent and Louis B. Mayer come on. You just want to strangle them for mistreating Garland at such a young age. It was even a surprise to me that Zellweger did her own singing, and she did a good job! The musical moments are another highlight of the film, and that's true with the final one where she sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The supporting cast of Finn Wittrock, Richard Cordery, Rufus Sewell, and Jessie Buckley put in some great performances. It's a well-cast film that was able to let the actors breathe and have their moments in-between the depressing points in Garland's career.
Sadly, that's all the praise I have for the film. Now, that isn't to say Judy is a bad film, because it's not. I haven't seen a biopic that was truly terrible unless it entirely missed the point. No, the biggest problem is that it's another biopic drama during award season that has one really good element to it, but that's about it. The rest of the film isn't terrible, but it's very traditional. Even the performances from Garland's agent and the co-founder of MGM are a touch cartoony and one-dimensional. That's how many of the side characters are treated. There isn't a whole lot to them, and that's a shame. Even Renee's voice for Garland almost teeters into the cartoony territory. The problem is that I can tell this is a biopic more interested in awards than being a movie-going experience. It's not the worst of its kind, but the tropes and execution of these films are, to me, becoming way more noticeable.
Listen, just because I'm calling it another standard biopic doesn't mean I hate it. I liked Judy, and I think it's one of the better biopic dramas that I have seen during the award season. However, it is just another biopic that kind of gets lost in the flood of other award-hopeful biopics. I recommend checking it out if you are curious. I don't think there is any rush seeing it in theaters, but I would rather watch this film than Joker again. It might be another biopic that is aiming to grab at awards, but it's better than most. It's a film I would play once, but never again.
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