Life with Judy Garland Me and My Shadows, biographical film, biography, review, biopic

Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001)

Based on her daughter's memoirs, this biopic boasts two outstanding renditions of Judy Garland. Tammy Blanchard’s wide-eyed enthusiasm as the younger Judy Garland effectively conveys the star’s nervous energy as she giddily bounds between stage and film, with more than a little help from studio supplied pills. Blanchard also skilfully negotiates the transition from sweet, innocent child star to the worldlier adolescent, which is more than can be said for the biopic's handling of the change of actresses portraying Garland. Yet once this abrupt swap has taken place, Judy Davis grabs the film by the scruff of the neck and delivers a knockout performance.

 

Part of Garland’s greatness was that she didn’t just sing a song, she inhabited it, and in having an actress of Davis’s prowess portraying Garland, this quality shines through. Not only does she uncannily mimic the star’s grand gestures in both concert and film, but she also sells "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by doing nothing more than sitting down and miming to Garland’s vocals.

 

Despite the raw emotion of Garland’s fragility being painful to watch at times, there are many humorous moments, sometimes contained within the same scene. Still, by the conclusion of the biopic the viewer truly understands why one of her Oz co-stars said at her funeral - "She just plain wore out."

cast, Judy Davis, Judy Garland, Tammy Blanchard, mickey rooney
Judy Davis
Judy Davis

as Judy Garland

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Tammy Blanchard
Tammy Blanchard

as Judy Garland

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Noah Henne, James Kall & Michael B. King as Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr

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Dwayne Adams
Dwayne Adams

as Mickey Rooney

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1/5
Al Waxman, Louis B Mayer, Lana Turner, Busby Berkeley, Charles Bickford

Through use of montage, narration and change of leads, biopic gives the impression that a significant period of time elapsed between Judy's collapse on the set of Girl Crazy and her starring role in Meet Me In St Louis. In actuality, only nine months had passed.

Narration of scene following filming of 'I Got Rhythm' number in Girl Crazy has Judy marrying David Rose. The two actually wed on July 27th 1941, eighteen months before the endless rehearsals of 'I Got Rhythm'.

Biopic depicts Mickey Deans discovering Judy's body after entering the bathroom via an unlocked door. In reality the door was locked, forcing Mickey to climb out on the roof of their London apartment to look through the window.

Hugh Laurie, Vincente Minnelli, John Benjamin Hickey, Roger Edens, Arthur Freed

Clip courtesy of Dimitri Bitu

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