Judy & Punch
Runtime: 1h 45m
Rated: Not Rated
Director: Mirrah Foulkes
Writers: Mirrah Foulkes, Tom Punch, Lucy Punch, Eddy Moretti
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Damon Herriman, Daisy Axon
Initial: Saw promotional materials on Hulu and said, “Well, that looks like a movie for me!”
What Did I Think: (spoilers possible below)
Enjoyment of this movie is fairly dependent on some knowledge of traditional Punch and Judy shows. Being American, I was only vaguely familiar: it’s a puppet show, usually done with marionettes; Punch carries a stick and (as the Wikipedia page puts it) other characters are “felled by Punch’s slapstick.” But that wasn’t enough to keep me from being felled by a few WTF moments due to my not being familiar enough. I understood going in (though I hadn’t watched the trailer) that there was going to be a fantastical aspect to the setting and time period. I suspected that there was a meta aspect to the story. I just wasn’t quite prepared for a more or less live-action Punch and Judy show.
Like the also inverse-named Gretel & Hansel (2020), Judy & Punch is more about the female half of this pairing. Judy is co-artist, wife to the “genius” Punch, and over-worked mother. The final straw to her liberation is pretty extreme. She delivers retribution to her husband by the end of the tale, though I wish it would have been a little more grounded. Earlier, Judy is shown to be a talented magician (in the stage magic sense) and I wish those theatrics would have been more solidly used. It’s a beautiful film and well-cast, but slightly misses the mark for me.