Renée Zellweger receives standing ovation for her 'Judy' performance at Toronto International Film Festival

11 September 2019, 12:45 | Updated: 11 September 2019, 20:36

By Rosie Pentreath

The Toronto International Film Festival audience’s reaction to Zellweger’s performance has got us all choked up – and just a bit excited for the film’s release.

Renée Zellweger received a whopping standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival after a screening of ‘Judy’ .

Praised for her portrayal of Judy Garland in Rupert Goold’s biopic, Zellweger fought back tears and tried to hush the overwhelming ovation she received, warning the audience to “quit it” before they risked “messing up her make-up” (see video below).

“It’s a different sense of responsibility that you feel to represent things as accurately as you can by digging through the historical and public record of the legacy of Judy’s life,” Zellweger said through tears of joy once the room calmed down.

Renée Zellweger plays Judy Garland in JUDY 2019
Renée Zellweger plays Judy Garland in JUDY. Picture: Pathe

She wasn't the only one with smudged eye-liner.

“Renee Zellweger [is] getting a huge, long standing ovation at Toronto International Film Festival for her stunning stunning stunning performance as Judy Garland in JUDY. I’m a wreck. She is incredible. No hyperbole is possible,” tweeted film critic Adam Vary.

Read more: Is Renée Zellweger really singing as Judy Garland in ‘Judy’? >

Zellweger prepared to play and, crucially, sing as Garland with the direction to put her own spin on the well-known character.

Speaking in a statement at the time of the first trailer’s release, the film’s director, Rupert Goold, said: “I made it clear to Renée that I wasn’t looking for an impersonation of Judy Garland’s inimitable voice, but what I wanted was for Renée to make the songs her own.”

That being said, Garland rings through loud and clear in Zellweger’s performance.

Renée Zellweger releases 'Judy' album after depicting Judy Garland in new Rupert Goold biopic
Renée Zellweger releases 'Judy' album after depicting Judy Garland in new Rupert Goold biopic. Picture: Pathe / Decca

When Zellweger’s single of ‘Over the Rainbow’ was released, we were delighted to find both similarities with Garland, as well as a new way of discovering her voice, in her interpretation.

Our presenter and resident pro soprano, Catherine Bott, was delighted to find Zellweger’s performance stands up “pretty well” to Garland’s original.

Read more: Renée Zellweger performing ‘Over The Rainbow’ as Judy Garland is so epic we asked a professional soprano to analyse it >

“She’s clearly been doing a lot of listening, and she goes for a breathy, slightly nasal sound, pitching each note confidently and accurately.

“It’s a compelling evocation of how the burnt-out star might have sounded in 1969.”

Amen to that.

Judy is out in UK cinemas on 2 October 2019.