Todd Russell’s review published on Letterboxd:
Self-destruction. As tragic as any viewer would expect the last year of an almost mythic celebrity as Judy Garland would be as an exercise in pain to go out to the stage night after night. The movie starts out like a slow brew and builds upon how Judy's motherhood and talent is so incredible that she doesn't even need to rehearse to throw the star switch.
There are some flashbacks throughout the movie, but these are fortunately not too lengthy. I didn't like the flashback era, as I wanted the stage as much as possible on the present time in the film, not the past, with Renee Zellweger carrying the film.
Let there be no mistaking that Zellweger *IS* this film.
When the spotlight isn't shining brightly on her, the film suffers. As for Zellweger singing? Amazing. There isn't another Judy Garland out there, so she does as best as anybody could possibly do, I think. I wish the movie would have been a bit more musical than it was because I really enjoyed watching and hearing Zellweger sing Garland songs.
As for the makeup and wardrobe and cinematography, all great. This movie was not the masterpiece hoped for, as it is a bit disjointed in places, but it is clearly the best acting I've seen this year so far in any movie. I'm not the person who says, "Oscar!" but can't imagine how she doesn't fare strongly in the voting.
It's too bad the movie wasn't written with a little more dramatic flair. Recommended? Absolutely, but I have a feeling another, better movie will come along that sweeps away this incredible performance by Zellweger. This is the best movie I've seen since getting my Regal Unlimited subscription, but not for the story, for Renee Zellweger.