Judy review – Zellweger and Garland coexist symbiotically

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Renée Zellweger is phenomenally good in this captivating account of Judy Garland’s final London concert run

“I’m only Judy Garland for one hour a night. The rest of the time, I am part of a family.” The rebuke is drawled during an interview on British television; an interview that is about to go south, tipping the already fragile Garland (Renée Zellweger) into the comforting oblivion of booze and pills once again. You get the sense that when she says it, she fully believes that being Judy is a part-time job or a costume she can shed at will. But what’s particularly satisfying about this raw portrait of Garland at the end of her career, during a 1969 concert run in London, is how it taps into the fact that Judy never really has the luxury of being fully off stage. The Faustian pact with MGM studio boss Louis B Mayer, which turned a “fat-ankled, snag-toothed rube from Grand Rapids” into America’s sweetheart, triggered a relationship with the spotlight that was every bit as addictive and abusive as her relationship with pills.

Related: Renée Zellweger: ‘A little mystery never hurt a girl’

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