Judy (film)

Judy is a 2019 biographical drama film about American singer and actress Judy Garland. Directed by Rupert Goold, it is an adaptation of the Olivier- and Tony-nominated West End and Broadway play End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter. The film stars Renée Zellweger as Garland, with Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, and Michael Gambon in supporting roles.[4][5]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byRupert Goold
Produced by
  • David Livingstone
Screenplay byTom Edge
Based onEnd of the Rainbow
by Peter Quilter
Music byGabriel Yared
CinematographyOle Bratt Birkeland
Edited byMelanie Ann Oliver
Distributed by
Release date
  • 30 August 2019 (2019-08-30) (Telluride)
  • 27 September 2019 (2019-09-27) (United States)
  • 2 October 2019 (2019-10-02) (United Kingdom)
Running time
118 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Box office$42.1 million[2][3]

The film follows Judy Garland's career during the last year of her life when she relocated her stage career to Britain coupled with flashbacks to her teenage years most prominently the filming of her part as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz; Garland's most iconic role. After some initial success for a run of sell-out concerts at the Talk of the Town in London, her efforts eventually stop making progress and even start to worsen due to health issues.

Judy premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on 30 August 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on 27 September 2019, and in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2019. It grossed $41 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, with major praise drawn towards Zellweger's performance, who won the Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, BAFTA Award, and the Academy Award for Best Actress.


At the outset, Judy Garland is 15 years old and is being told by her studio manager, Louis B. Mayer, that she has a gift other girls do not. Judy's talent at singing is nearly unmatched while she is able to surpass the success of Shirley Temple as a Hollywood child star. Judy is then shown in her forties, performing with her two children from her marriage to Sidney Luft, her third husband. Later, Judy and her son and daughter try to check into their hotel but are turned away for previous nonpayment. Because of this, Judy is forced to return home to Luft, who has since divorced her.

At a party, Judy meets Mickey Deans, a nightclub owner, and they become close friends. In a flashback to Judy's teenage years with Mickey Rooney, her studio minder interrupts a date to give Judy amphetamines to help control her appetite. The action returns to 1968, with Judy seeing an agent who tells her that Britain is open to her, but that the U.S. reception to her has cooled and become unworkable due to her growing performance unreliability and moodiness. Judy decides to embark for the U.K., leaving her two children with Luft, which is difficult for her.

In the U.K., substance abuse issues keep her from performing reliably on stage. Judy is late to her London première. Assistants are called upon to check on her health and fix her make-up. The fans are enthusiastic. Her performance is excellent. The film has another flashback to Judy at 14 years old. She complains about being fed with pills to help her meet her schedule demands. Back in London in 1968, she is performing again and starts to sing the "Clang, clang, clang..." lyrics to "The Trolley Song" to strong applause.

Judy meets two adoring gay fans at the stage door on her way out and joins them for a late-night snack at their flat. They bond over their difficulties, and she sings "Get Happy" while one of the fans plays the piano. Deans comes to London on a surprise visit, which cheers her up. Judy still has trouble making her stage performances on time because of substance abuse issues and anxiety. Another flashback shows Mayer talking to her at 15 years of age, with Judy portrayed as exhausted by her childhood schedule, and Mayer portrayed as using emotional abuse and physical intimidation to keep her in line.

Her sponsoring British agent has her examined by a voice specialist medical doctor. Judy says she had a tracheotomy two years ago, which weakened her voice. The doctor diagnoses physical and mental exhaustion, which requires rest for recovery. Her relationship with Deans is a support to her personal life, and they marry. He is her fifth husband. Judy still thinks about her children and suffers from being separated from them. The children, however, are happy in school in California. Deans has bad news about a money deal that fell through, which means she must stay in Britain in order to make ends meet. At her next performance, she passes out on stage and is heckled. Judy ends her singing engagement but returns for the last night on stage, where she asks to perform one last song. She breaks down while singing "Over the Rainbow" but recovers with the encouragement of supportive fans and is able to complete the performance. Judy asks, "You won't forget me, will you?" to the audience, who applaud before she ends her performance by saying, "Promise you won't". The film's epilogue states that Judy died six months later, in the summer of 1969, at the age of 47.



Principal photography began on 19 March 2018, in London. Filming locations included West London Film Studios.[6] and Hackney Empire.


Judy had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on 30 August 2019.[7][8] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on 10 September 2019.[9] The film was theatrically released in the United States on 27 September 2019, by Roadside Attractions and LD Entertainment, and in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2019, by 20th Century Fox, Pathé's British Distributor.[1][10][11][12]


The soundtrack for the film was released on September 28, 2019 by Decca Records. It features twelve of Garland's most popular tracks performed by Zellweger, including several that were featured in the movie, as well as duets with Sam Smith and Rufus Wainwright.


Box officeEdit

Judy grossed $24.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $17.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $41.5 million.[2][3]

The film made $2.9 million in its opening weekend, from 461 theaters, finishing seventh at the box office; 60% of its audiences was female, while 79% were over the age of 35.[13][14] It expanded to 1,458 theaters the following weekend and made $4.6 million, finishing sixth, before making $3.2 million in its third weekend, returning to seventh place.[15][16]

Critical responseEdit

Renée Zellweger's performance as Judy Garland garnered widespread critical acclaim and won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 82% of 311 critic reviews are positive, and the average rating is 6.95 out of 10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Led by a deeply committed performance from Renée Zellweger, Judy captures the waning days of a beloved performer with clear-eyed compassion."[17] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[14]

Zellweger garnered much critical acclaim for her performance in the title role, with several critics labelling her a frontrunner to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, which she would later go on to win.[19] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called Zellweger's portrayal of Judy Garland "the performance of the year,"[20] while Zoe Gahan of Vanity Fair wrote, "a stellar stage-stomping performance. It is hard to tell where Garland stops and Zellweger starts... Go and see this film. Laugh and weep, bawl your eyes out—she deserves every tear."[21] Eric Kohn of IndieWire gave the film a "C", stating that "Zellweger inhabits the role of the jaded, soul-searching musical icon reasonably well within a dreary and unremarkable saga that finds her grappling with her past, contending with pill-popping addictions and a broken family. It's a familiar story that Judy struggles to freshen up, at least until Zellweger takes the mic."[22]

Monica Castillo of RogerEbert.com gave the film two out of four stars; though she praised how the film contextualised Garland's abusive childhood, she criticised Goold's direction and Zellweger's performance, stating that "there are spots in the movie where Zellweger's affected manners become too distracting and overshadow everything else around her.... Try as she might, Zellweger's Judy never goes beyond an impression of the multi-talented artist; her all-caps version of acting fails to allow the role to feel natural."[23]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
AACTA Awards 3 January 2020 Best International Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated [24]
AARP's Movies For Grownups Awards 11 January 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won [25]
Best Time Capsule Judy Nominated
Academy Awards 9 February 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won [26]
Best Makeup and Hairstyling Jeremy Woodhead Nominated
Atlanta Film Critics Circle 2 December 2019 Best Lead Actress Renée Zellweger Won [27]
British Academy Film Awards 2 February 2020 Best Actress in a Leading Role Renée Zellweger Won
Best Costume Design Jany Temime Nominated
Best Makeup and Hair Jeremy Woodhead Nominated
British Independent Film Awards 1 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won [28]
Best Cinematography Ole Bratt Birkeland Nominated
Best Costume Design Jany Temime Nominated
Best Make Up & Hair Design Jeremy Woodhead Won
Best Production Design Kave Quinn Nominated
Casting Society of America 30 January 2020 Studio or Independent – Drama Fiona Weir and Alice Searby Nominated [29]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 12 January 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won
Best Hair and Makeup Judy Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society 9 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated
Breakthrough Performance Jessie Buckley Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards 19 March 2020 Outstanding Film – Wide Release Judy Pending [30]
Golden Globe Awards 5 January 2020 Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Renée Zellweger Won [31]
Hollywood Critics Association 9 January 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated [32][33]
Best Hair and Makeup Judy Nominated
Hollywood Film Awards 3 November 2019 Hollywood Actress Award Renée Zellweger Won [34]
Houston Film Critics Society 2 January 2020 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won
Independent Spirit Awards 8 February 2020 Best Female Lead Renée Zellweger Won [35]
London Film Critics Circle 30 January 2020 Actress of the Year Renée Zellweger Won
National Board of Review 8 January 2020 Top 10 Independent Films Judy Won
Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival 2 January 2020 Desert Palm Achievement Award Renée Zellweger Won [36]
Phoenix Film Critics Society 17 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Won
San Diego Film Critics Society 9 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger runner-up
Breakthrough Artist Jessie Buckley Nominated
Santa Barbara International Film Festival 16 January 2020 American Riviera Award Renée Zellweger Won [37]
Satellite Awards 19 December 2019 Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Renée Zellweger Nominated [38]
Best Costume Design Jany Temime Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards 19 January 2020 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Renée Zellweger Won [39]
St. Louis Film Critics Association 15 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association 8 December 2019 Best Actress Renée Zellweger Nominated


  1. ^ a b https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/judy-review-renee-zellweger-1203316871/
  2. ^ a b "Judy (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Judy (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  4. ^ Clarke, Stewart (23 October 2017). "Renee Zellweger to Play Judy Garland in London-Set 'Judy'". Variety.
  5. ^ "Renee Zellweger to play Judy Garland on screen". BBC News. 23 October 2017.
  6. ^ "First Look: Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland in 'Judy' Biopic". 19 March 2018.
  7. ^ Hammond, Pete (29 August 2019). "Telluride Film Festival: 'Ford V Ferrari', 'Judy', 'Motherless Brooklyn', Weinstein-Inspired Drama 'The Assistant' Among Premieres Headed To 46th Edition – Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Telluride Program Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  9. ^ Lang, Brent (23 July 2019). "Toronto Film Festival: 'Joker,' 'Ford v Ferrari,' 'Hustlers' Among Big Premieres". Variety. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  10. ^ "'Judy' First Look: Renée Zellweger Becomes Judy Garland to Perform the Legend's Final Concerts". 19 March 2018.
  11. ^ "First Look At Renée Zellweger As Judy Garland In Pathé, BBC Films Biopic". 19 March 2018.
  12. ^ Hetrick, Adam (31 May 2018). "Renée Zellweger Judy Garland Biopic Will Be Distributed by LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions". Playbill.
  13. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (29 September 2019). "'Judy' Debuts To Pitch Perfect $2.9 Million, 'Peanut Butter Falcon' Flies High As #1 Indie Platform Release of 2019 – Specialty Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  14. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (29 September 2019). "Dreamworks Animation-Pearl Studios' 'Abominable' Bigfoots B.O. With Near $21M Opening Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro yuh, Anthony (6 October 2019). "Warner Bros. Laughing All The Way To The Bank With 'Joker': $94M Debut Reps Records For October, Todd Phillips, Joaquin Phoenix & Robert De Niro". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (13 October 2019). "'Joker' $55M+ Scores 2nd Weekend October Record, 'Addams Family' Rich $30M+, 'Gemini Man' Still Not Dazzling $20M – Sunday B.O. Update". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
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  21. ^ Gahan, Zoe (3 October 2019). "Review: Judy Laugh and weep, bawl your eyes out—Judy deserves every tear". Vanity Fair. Conde Nast. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  22. ^ Kohn, Eric (31 August 2019). "'Judy' Review: Renée Zellweger Is a Solid Judy Garland in a Bland Biopic About Her Later Years". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
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  25. ^ Gardner, Chris (26 November 2019). "'The Two Popes' Leads Nominees for AARP the Magazine's Movies for Grownups Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  26. ^ "Oscar Nominations 2020: The Complete List". Variety. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  27. ^ Goldberg, Matt (2 December 2019). "'Parasite' Wins Big with the Atlanta Film Critics Circle". Collider. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  28. ^ "Nominations · BIFA · British Independent Film Awards". BIFA · British Independent Film Awards. 21 October 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  29. ^ Schaffstall, Katherine (2 January 2020). "Artios Awards: 'Hustlers,' 'Knives Out,' 'Rocketman' Among Casting Society Film Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  30. ^ Gardner, Chris; Howard, Annie (8 January 2020). "GLAAD Media Awards: 'Booksmart,' 'Bombshell,' 'Rocketman' Among Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
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  32. ^ "The 3rd Annual Hollywood Critics Association Awards Nominations". Hollywood Critics Association. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  33. ^ Full Winners List From The 2020 Hollywood Critics Association Awards
  34. ^ Hipes, Patrick (22 October 2019). "Hollywood Film Awards 2019 Winners List (So Far): Antonio Banderas, Renée Zellweger, Al Pacino, Laura Dern,'Endgame', More – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  35. ^ Sharf, Zack (21 November 2019). "2020 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees: 'Marriage Story,' 'Uncut Gems,' and More". IndieWire. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
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  37. ^ Hammond, Pete (8 October 2019). "Renee Zellweger To Receive Santa Barbara Film Festival's American Riviera Award". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  38. ^ "2019 NOMINEES". INTERNATIONAL PRESS ACADEMY. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  39. ^ Lang, Brent (19 January 2020). "SAG Awards 2020: 'Parasite,' 'The Crown,' 'Mrs. Maisel' Win Top Prizes". Variety. Retrieved 20 January 2020.

External linksEdit