The Day Shall Come
The Golden Glove
The Death of Dick Long
Thirty years after she rose to fame as the star of The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) faces homelessness and might lose custody of her kids, Joey (Lewin Lloyd) and Lorna (Bella Ramsey), to her ex-husband, Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell), so she travels to London to perform at The Talk of the Town for five weeks to make some much-needed income. At a party, she meets Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) who soon becomes her fifth husband, but she still battles alcohol and drug addiction. She recalls her younger years while on the set of The Wizard of Oz and suffering abuse from the dominereering producer/MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery).
Screenwriter Tom Edge and director Rupert Goold should be commended for showing Judy as a human being from the first first frame until the last. Edge jumps back and forth between Judy's adult years and the adolescent years that were very traumatic for her. She struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, she's not a particularly good mother, and she also has financial woes, but beneath the surface, there's a compassionate, warm person. It's great to observe her wit which is evident when she quips. The flashbacks are very well intergrated into the narrative without taking away from its momentum, and they also help you to empathize with Judy as you learn how she was abused during her childhood. There aren't any villains to be found here. Even Judy's ex-husband is written as a human being. The only true villains are Judy's drug and alcohol addictions which she uses to numb and run away from the emotional pains from her past. She, like all compelling characters onscreen, yearns to be human after enduring years of abuse that dehumanized her. Fame is also quite dehumanizing. She wants to be loved unconditionally like her two of her fans, Dan (Andy Nyman) and Stan (Daniel Cerqueira), provide for her when she agrees to come up to their apartment for dinner. That dinner is one of the film's most beautiful scenes while being concurrently heartwarming and heartbreaking.
It's so moving and refreshing to watch a character onscreen who has an inner life. Renée Zellweger captures the heart, mind and soul of Judy Garland which is no easy task. he filmmakers designed the window into Judy's heart, mind and soul, but it's Zellweger who deserves an Oscar for opening that window so widely and bearing her own heart, mind and soul. She truly becomes Judy Garland, physically, mentally and emotionally, and loses herself in the role without any hamminess. The exquisite costume design also deserves to be commended and will mostly likely be nominated for awards. Prepare to be mesmerizing by Zellweger's singing, especially during the final scene. The last line of the film, which won't be spoiled here, not only speaks volumes not only about Judy, but also serves as a testament of how much the filmmakers, together with Zellwegger, humanize a Hollywood icon. At a running time of 118 minutes, Judy is exhilarating, tender and genuinely heartfelt. Renée Zellweger gives the performance of a lifetime.
Sink or Swim
A group of middle aged men form a synchronized swim team at a local pool where their coach, Delphine (Virginie Efira), trains them for a competition. The men include Bertrand (Mathieu Amalric), Thierry (Philippe Katerine), Marcus (Benoit Poelvoorde), Laurent (Guillaume Canet), Simon (Jean-Hugues Anglade), Thierry (Philippe Katerine), John (Felix Moati), and Avanish (Balasingham Thamilchelvan). Each of them has their own adversity ranging from unemployment to depression, poverty and divorce.
Sink or Swim sounds like it could be a funny, touching and inspirational crowd-pleaser on paper, but the comedic and dramatic beats often don't land because of its contrived screenplay by Gilles Lellouche and Ahmed Hamidi, Julien Lambroschini. This is the kind of movie where you can hear the screenwriters typing from start to finish. There are no surprises, and there are too many characters with not enough focus on their backstories to allow you to care about them as human beings. If you leave for a bathroom break and come back five minutes later, chances are you'll be able to correctly predict what you missed. Formulaic films could work, but only if they have an organic screenplay that allows audiences ignore the sound of the screenplay's wheels turning. Sink or Swim tries to be deep while ending up somewhat preachy, and tries to be poignant while ending up maudlin instead. There's a mostly awkward scene where the men dance by the pool to music which is one of the many examples of the filmmakers trying too hard to please the audience. Moreover, the character's dramatic arcs and their physical transformation to skilled synchronized swimmers doesn't feel believable enough, so the third act doesn't quite earn its uplift.
What somewhat enlivens Sink or Swim are the charismatic performances by the cast, especially Guillaume Canet and Mathieu Almaric, along with their chemistry which helps you to believe that the men are becoming friends with one another the more they spend time together. The underrated French actress Virginie Efira has an underwritten part as a coach; she has much better material to chew on as the lead in the Sibyl, so this role feels like it's beneath her compared to that much more complex one. Although Sink or Swim is technically a French film, it feels more like a Hollywood film suffers from a common ailment plaguing Hollywood films: it's too long, lacks nuance and spoon-feeds the audience without trusting their intelligence nor their emotions enough. Why do filmmakers feel the need to baby the audience? At least it's not as painfully dull and unfunny as the overrated "crowd-pleaser" The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Sink or Swim could have easily been a decent 90 minute film, but at a running time of 2 hours and 2 minutes, it starts dragging past the 90-minute mark. It's ultimately contrived, heavy-handed and underwhelming.