Judy is Zellweger’s chameleon like transformation makes this her movie from beginning to end

Adapted by Tom Edge from Peter Quilter’s the stage play, this is a raw portrait of Judy Garland at the end of her career, and a showcase for Renée Zellweger’s uncanny ability to get under the skin of the characters she plays.

Efficiently directed by Rupert Goold, Zellweger captures the broken, yet still extraordinary, voice that a lifetime of booze and pills has damaged. Flinging her arms about like a rag doll, cracking jokes and, of course, singing those songs, this is much more than an impression – it is a chameleon like transformation, although we never forget the talent of the both Renée and Judy. There is some creditable support from Michael Gambon as Bernard Delfont, while Jessie Buckley is as sharp and efficient as Garland’s  exasperated assistant Rosalyn Wilde. But this is Zellweger’s film, from beginning to end, from her tremulous pout to her wide gaze, she somehow conveys a woman both exhausted and rejuvenated by the thrill of performance.

This movie is a film about making that defiant last stand in front of her adoring fans, while battling against vulpine husbands, a vicious press and the merciless Louis B Mayer, who destroyed her childhood on route to Oz.