Judy Garland was a performer with a capital P. She is an icon above icons, a movie star in every sense of the word. She was a human being whose life off camera was far from perfect.
The new movie, Judy, tells the story of the last years of Judy Garland‘s (Renee Zellweger) life. She is no longer the young starlet (played by Darci Shaw) who was the apple of the movie-going audience’s eye. At the age of 47, she is battling addiction and facing major career and financial hurdles while trying to be a good mother.
The only gigs she can get are small clubs. Then she is offered a series of concerts at London’s Talk of the Town. Knowing that it is her only option, she takes it. While in London, she marries her fifth and final husband Mickey Deans (Fitt Wittrock) and is given to Rosalyn Wilder (Jessie Buckley), who acts as her assistant.
Judy has the reputation, but can she be the performer that she is known to be or will her personal demons get in the way?
This movie is awesome and without a doubt, is Oscar bait. Zellweger completely disappears into the role, making the audience forget that it is not the real Judy Garland that they are watching. Based on the stage play End of the Rainbow, by Peter Quilter, this film is many things. It is a tearjerker, a reminder of how destructive addiction can be and a story of fighting to survive when it feels like all is lost.
We all have dreams. But often times, dreams clash with the real world, especially when our responsibilities come knocking.
In the new movie,Wild Rose, Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley) has just been released from prison. Her dream is to become a country music star. But the bubble of the dream is quickly burst. Her mother, Marion (Julie Walters) has been taking care of her grandchildren during her daughter’s incarceration and insists that Rose-Lynn be the parent her kids need her to be.
To bring in income, Rose-Lynn is hired by Susannah (Sophie Okonedo) as a cleaning lady. Susannah discover’s Rose-Lynn’s talent and encourages her to go for the dream. But while Rose-Lynn is chasing her dream, she must also take care of her kids.
Can she do both or must her dream be sacrificed for her children?
This movie is brilliant. The narrative speaks to all us who have dreams, but must also face the reality of our responsibilities. As the title character, Buckley is flawed, human, but also very real. As her mother, Walters just wants what is best for her daughter and grandchildren, even if that means putting aside the dream for reality. As Susannah, Okonedo is the character who encourages Rose-Lynn to go for it. If only those of us with dreams had someone like that in our corner.
In addition to acting, Buckley is doing her own singing, adding another level of reality to her performance. I knew her from her previous roles as a good actress, but it was her singing that blew me away.
At it’s heart, Beauty and The Beast is a tale of two outsiders who find the companionship and affection that is missing from their respective worlds. That narrative quality alone opens the door for new and interesting interpretations of the classic fairy tale.
In the new movie, Beast, Moll (Jessie Buckley) lives with her family on the island of Jersey. Put upon by her family and more specifically, her overbearing mother, Hilary (Geraldine James), Moll externally goes along with everyone, but internally, she is screaming for a way out. Enter Pascal (Johnny Flynn), a rough around the edges outsider who may be the man responsible for a series of unsolved murders of young girls. Pascal is one of a few suspects who is being investigated by Clifford (Trystan Gravelle), a family friend who works as a police officer and has been assigned to the case of the murdered girls.
While the movie was a little too long, the narrative was fantastic. This dark and twisted fairy tale is neither simple or predictable. Writer/director Michael Pearce keeps the tension thick, always making the audience question if Pascal is really the killer or if he is being targeted because he is an outsider. He also smartly ended the film in the most un-fairy tale way possible, with just enough narrative leeway for the audience to ask questions about the future of these characters.