Screen Gems

Open the diaries of Judy Garland, and peer into an extraordinary life

(L-R): Sid Luft, Judy Garland and Joey Luft in SID & JUDY. Photo Credit: Courtesy of SHOWTIME.

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Keyhole: Sid & Judy

Judy Garland once boasted that she loved looking through keyholes, but never looked through one where there wasn’t someone staring back and watching her. Anyone can see why: apart from her tremendous talent and stats as a gay icon, Garland lived one of the most interesting lives of any star in the classic Hollywood era. Sid & Judy, the documentary from openly gay director Stephen Kijak, explores the life of Garland with special emphasis paid to her relationship with husband #3, Sid Luft. Utilizing archive footage, audio recordings, and a host of personal letters, diary entries, and other documents, Kijak tries to understand the tumultuous relationship between the couple. He also explores the demons of each: Luft, the hard-drinking gambling addict, and Garland, the alcoholic drug addict, as well as how those vices ultimately destroyed their marriage. Kijak also taps the talents of Jon Hamm and Jennifer Jason Leigh to give voice to the written scraps of the couple, often with eerie similarity.

Sid & Judy ends with a coda exploring Garland’s relationship with the queer community, and her lingering prominence as a gay icon. Call it the rainbow at the end of a stormy life. Tender, captivating and fascinating from start to finish, we suggest it to fans of Garland, classic Hollywood and the uninitiated alike.

Streams on Showtime.