Zellweger’s JUDY, like Portman’s Jackie, offers a brief look into her moments of highest tension in life. Judy Garland was America’s sweetheart for the whole of her short life, but never was she allowed to bask in the joy of being so. She was a puppet, a plaything for managers to exploit and audiences to admire. I grew up in a world that kept her ruby slippers under glass and sang along with her gleeful performances. Her life looked charmed and protected under lights and roses tossed from theater seats. This was the illusion. Off-stage versus on. Almost robotically, a switch flipped in front of an audience. The child actor poised, prodded, and pumped with narcotics became the showman. Addicted to audience and adrenaline as much as substances, she found no solace in the “normal” life she wished for. She loved her children but didn’t know how to shut off offstage. Renee Zellweger truly embodies Judy in her last year of life, her swaggered performances and pained relationships. Judy Garland’s life story is a sad testimony to the abusive underbelly of entertainment and the affect of falling for the fickle love of fans.
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