The remarkable story of Hollywood legend Judy Garland is vividly told in this widely acclaimed film, which features amazing, Emmy Award-winning portrayals by Judy Davis (Best Actress) and Tammy Blanchard (Best Supporting A... more »ctress). Loved by millions the world over, Judy was the brightest star in Hollywood's Golden Era. Away from the bright lights and brilliant performances, however, her devotion was to her family. But while she loved her children unconditionally, they could only desperately try and hang on to their mother as a powerful dependence on alcohol and prescription drugs began to consume her life. Based on the book by Garland's daughter Lorna Luft, and honored recipient of 5 Emmy Awards, LIFE WITH JUDY GARLAND: ME AND MY SHADOWS is a deeply moving testament to the healing powers of embracing one's past, facing one's demons, and charting a course of self-discovery!« less
Incredible Performances, But More Than Slightly Inaccurate
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 01/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Arguably the single greatest talent to emerge from golden-era Hollywood, Judy Garland continues to fascinate us even more than four decades after her untimely death. As a singer, she was incomparable; as an actress, she was exceptional; as a star, she was perhaps the most brilliant celebrity of her generation. But behind the brillance there was a deeply troubled woman who began her career as a child in the hands of a driven mother and an all-powerful studio, who raced through five husbands, who fought a losing battle with chemical dependency throughout most of her life, and who self-destructed time and time again--only to arise, phoenix-like, from her own ashes over and over again. It was an extraordinary life.So it should come as no surprise, really, that this three-hour television falls a bit short. Realistically, it would take a talent of Garland's own scope to bring her fully to the screen. But what the film does right, it does extremely, extremely well--and the centerpieces of the film are the remarkable performances of Tammy Blanchard and Judy Davis. Both give extraordinary performances. That said, however, both performances are flawed due to the age of the actresses. Blanchard, who plays the teenage Garland, is clearly too old to be thirteen-ish when the film begins; Davis, who plays Garland from her twenties until her death, is clearly too old to be Garland in her twenties.But so exceptional are the performances that these are actually minor quibbles. When made up for the role and placed in period attire, both Blanchard and Davis have the look to an absolutely uncanny degree. More importantly, they match each other in their skill at playing Garland, who was one of the most uniquely idioscyratic personalities of her era--indeed, Davis has been described by many as having "channeled" Garland, and I certainly wouldn't disagree. And the supporting cast is quite good as well, ranging from above average to extremely good, something of a surprise in a made-for-television movie. Equally impressive is the painstaking recreation of the world in which Garland moved; her wardrobe, both on stage and off, has been meticulously recreated right down to the hat she wore for her wedding to Vincent Minnelli. Be it sets, costumes, or props, the design staff did a truly miraculous job.But the film falls down in both script and detail. Part of this is due to fact that Lorna Luft's memoir was, naturally enough, based on what her mother told her about her life. Doubtlessly Luft accepted much of this as fact, but Garland was notorious for twisting the truth if it would make a good story--and consequently the film includes several depictions of events that by all other accounts didn't happen that way, assuming they happened at all.When filming THE WIZARD OF OZ, SHADOWS shows Garland being crowded out of the shot by her co-stars, prompting director Victor Flemming to say "You three dirty hams, let that little girl in there!" It was one of Garland's favorite party stories--but it didn't happen. Garland was well known for her ability to perform complex musical numbers with little rehearsal in a single take, and SHADOWS offers her performance of "The Trolley Song" in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS as an example of her ability to do that--but while she certainly could and often did perform her numbers in a single flawless take, she didn't do it for that particular number. In fact, she mis-mouthed her own vocal play-back during filming, and later had to re-record the vocal as a result. Perhaps the most obvious gaffe in the film is when Garland is found dead in the bathroom of her London apartment; SHADOWS shows her husband going to the bathroom door and seeing her sprawled out on the floor, clearly dead. In reality, the door was locked and he had to climb out on the roof to look in the window--and from her appearance he was unsure of her condition until he actually got into the room.That aside, the script does a superior job of showing Garland's racy, acid, and often self-mocking sense of humor and her often-hidden powerful sexuality. It also does a fairly good job of displaying her love-hate relationship with her own talent. But it is extremely spotty, skipping over major events and focusing on considerably more trivial incidents. (Garland's first husband, David Rose, is never seen in the film--and indeed, scarcely mentioned at all.) It lacks flow. And were it not for the incredible performances of both Blanchard and Davis, it would often also lack drama--a pretty astonishing thing when one considers how electrically dramatic Garland's life was from day to day. Perhaps most frustrating, the film also has a certain aloofness from its own subject; we observe Garland, but the script itself never really allows us to get inside her.In the final analysis, ME AND MY SHADOWS is a film that will most greatly appeal to casual viewers or to new Garland fans, for it does show the main outlines of her life and her career. Hardcore fans, however, will be frustrated by its covert inadequacies--and will be quick to spot the numerous moments when the script goes awry. Still, even with its numerous flaws, Blanchard and Davis are exceptional. And I strongly recommend it on that basis."
A one-sided treatment, but...
David Kusumoto | San Diego, CA United States | 12/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a pretty favorable treatment of the life of Judy Garland, at least from the standpoint of the role daughter Lorna Luft played in the context of growing up with a mother who became a legend in her own time. Lorna does, after all, narrate this thing, and as a result, you get the feeling that this is going to place herself and her father, Sid Luft, in the best possible light.What makes this video worthwhile -- enough worth owning -- is that, flaws and all, it is still by far the BEST overall bio-pic available about Judy Garland. The firestorm of moods is all on display here, particularly with Judy Davis' spectacular (with a capital "S") performance covering Judy's post-adolescent years. The music is incredible, the lip-synching is flawless and the re-creations are bulletproof to criticism. My aggravations associated with the near invisibility of daughter Liza Minnelli in her mother's life (she did tour with her didn't she? Sang with her, didn't she? But there's very little evidence of it here other than the notion that Liza was more career-focused and by implication, more selfish, compared to beloved daughter Lorna) -- were far outweighed by the sheer hypnotic delivery of the songs by both Tammy Blanchard and Judy Davis. No one had a voice like Judy's, a true original, and thankfully for fans and non-fans alike, there's enough here that is jammed-packed great to make you overlook the "transitions" that act as bridges between songs. Certainly, you get the impression that Lorna's father, Sid Luft, was Judy's true love. Whether it was or not, this is Lorna's view, and the magnificent actor Victor Garber certainly makes a dashing and strong case on her behalf playing Mr. Luft.Without Lorna's participation, this production would not have come to be and certainly the use of Judy's own voice could not be replicated by any other actress, living or dead. Judy Davis' performance is hands down riveting and wonderful. And I don't want to overlook Tammy Blanchard, who plays "young Judy" to perfection. The Wizard of Oz sequences with "Over the Rainbow" literally have you, sorry, here comes the obvious, "over the moon," in their seeming authenticity. The magic of these early sequences are so precious that I must admit that when Judy Davis comes into the movie, the effect was jarring for several minutes, so unlike in appearance she is to Judy G. until the story reaches into Garland's "later years."In sum, don't worry about the one-sided treatment and be satisfied about being transfixed listening to a voice for the ages. Never dull or boring, equal parts unsentimental and sentimental, "Me and My Shadows" stands as the best epic thus far about the life of Judy Garland. I'm sure Liza would have differed with many of the story elements presented, but there's no doubt she would NOT have quarreled with how "mama" is portrayed."
Judy Garland's Story is riveting and emotional.
Kimberly S. Loeffler | Binghamton, New York USA | 04/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a die-hard Judy Garland Fan. I couldn't wait for this film to come out. I have the video and DVD> The DVD has 10 minutes cut from the film where the VHS is complete. I feel this movie should be seen by everyone. The performances by Tammy Blanchard and Judy Davis are knockout performances. When you watch the film you really fall into Judy's world and Life. You feel her pain and her joys. her broken hearts and her love. One of the really great things about this film is that her real singing voice was used, both Tammy and Judy lip synced to the classic recordings. I love how authentic the costumes were they are exactly like they did in the original films. The most heart renching scene is where Judy is in her Dressing room with her husband vincente Minnelli right before they film "The Trolley Song" and she's in tears saying "I Can't Be Judy Garland Today" and another really great moment is when CBS Chews her out and she stood up for herself and her TV show.
I knew she loved her children but it this film It really came across and you knew that Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft were her world. They ment everything to her. It will bring tears to your eyes. It's a really powerful film about one of the greatest Singers in the world andI recommend this film to Oz Fans/Judy fans or fans of great entertainment!!! A Dynamite, powerhouse performance! Winner of 5 Emmies awards.
Triumph and Tragedy
Kimberly S. Loeffler | 02/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having seen this remarkable film when it premired on TV I could not await it's arrival on vhs. However, I was shocked that this incredible film had been senselessly choped up. On the vhs key sequences were deleted. Most of Tammy Blanchard's emmy award winning performence was cut in more than half. All of the scenes depicting Judy's relationship with Artie shaw, her mother's remarrige and young Judy's increasing addiction to prescription drugs and collapse on the set of Strike up the Band has all been cut out. Other scenes when Judy is played by Judy Davis have also been cut including Judy's acclaimed Palace song. Other missing scenes include the chopping up of Judy's film A Star is Born and the scence in which Judy recovers from life threating Hepititus which shows Garland at the top of the stairs looking incredible and her husband Sid Luft whisks her away into the bedroom. Also the scene where Lorna and Joe talk to the judge at the custody hearing in which they tell him their mama needs them is also deleted. This was a key scene that shows the childrens love for their mama. Although the tape is missing alot of the original context,about 30 to 40 mins, it still is a treasure that will grace anyones collection. I just hope a special edition with the deleted scenes intact is released in the near future."
Judy is Judy
Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 12/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No matter how great the actor is, how brilliant the screenplay might be, how accurate the recreation of a bygone era is, most biopics fall short and mostly disappoint. Not so with this incredible Television film. "My Life With Judy Garland - Me And My Shadows" is simply superb on all levels. The attention to detail in recreating the many settings and eras of Judy Garland's life at M.G.M. and on the concert stage is wonderful. The cast of supporting players is perfect, especially Marsha Mason as Judy's mother. But special kudos must go to Tammy Blanchard who plays the young Judy and to the incandescently incredible Judy Davis. Both performances are more than impersonations, each actress makes you forget performance and believe their magical recreations of Judy Garland. But of the two Emmy awarded performances the most spectacular comes from Davis. She is uncanny in her choices and a revelation in her becoming the character. Most touching is the recreation of the "Star is Born" speech about Norman Main. This is an artist at work recreating the harrowing life of a legend. It is a full-blown portrait that covers the range of Garlands talent, humor and despair and great capacity for hurt and love. In scene after scene she is pure magic. Special note on this DVD are the few extras that are not to be missed as well as a wonderful commentary track my Lorna Luft, director Robert Ackerman and costumer Donna Granada. Much thanks to must go to Lorna Luft for bringing this wonderful work to light. "