For many generations, Judy Garland will always be the young girl who wanted to click her heels to thrive in a place without conflict. Throughout Garland’s career, she continued to search for such peace, sometimes with success, often with stumbles, always with a clarity of view and voice. How well I remember her television show, from the 1960s, where she would simply sing. Even for a kid who could have been watching “Bonanza” on that other network, Judy continuously amazed.
Because Garland’s life and career traveled so many ups and downs, a traditional biopic would struggle to navigate all the turns. The new film “Judy” wisely focuses on one chapter in this entertainer’s life, near the end of her career, when all the choices she made finally caught up with her and challenged her ability to touch the people who mattered, including her fans, friends and children. Without making excuses for Garland’s behavior, or exaggerating the performer’s impact, the film helps us see the woman in a new way while celebrating the emotional commitment she brought to every performance.