Joy

"Extraordinary"

Joy Review

After Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, mercurial filmmaker David O. Russell reunites with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro for an offbeat biopic about the woman who invented the Miracle Mop. It's such a quirky movie that it's destined to divide audiences, but there's magic in Russell's loose, inventive filmmaking style. And this lively story has a lot to say about the tenacity required to achieve the American dream.

Joy Mangano (Lawrence) is the only sensible person in her family, so she's been running the household most of her life. But now things are getting a bit too complicated, as her father Rudy (De Niro) moves back into the house after his second marriage fails, Joy's mother Terry (Virginia Madsen) does little but watch her favourite soap opera, Joy's ex-husband Tony (Edgar Ramirez) lives in the basement pursuing his dream of becoming a pop star, and her sister (Dascha Polanco) undermines everything she does. As Joy cares for her own children, it's only her grandmother (Diane Ladd) who has any confidence in her. And when she has a flash of inspiration and creates a self-wringing mop, getting it on the market is an uphill battle. Finally, she catches the attention of Neil (Bradley Cooper), who runs a brand new shopping network called QVC.

The story spans some 40 years, during which Russell gleefully parallels Joy's family chaos with the lurid soap on Terry's television. Of the people around Joy, only Grandma, Tony and her childhood buddy Peggy (Elizabeth Rohm) believe in her. So even though her dad's new girlfriend (the fabulous Isabella Rossellini) invests in her mop, no one thinks she'll achieve any real success. This means that Joy's journey is a series of sometimes outrageous obstacles both within and outside her immediate circle. And of course the biggest barrier is her gender, because almost no one accepts the idea that she might be a genius.

Russell assembles the film with free-wheeling, joyous energy, as Joy refuses to be knocked down. Lawrence is simply wonderful in the role, finding deep layers of resilience and personality in every scene while drawing out vibrant textures in her interaction with the other characters, all of whom are played with complexity and a surprising depth of emotion. So the film is very funny, packed with riotously edgy comedy even as it grapples with deeper, darker issues. It sometimes feels a bit frantic, racing through the years while Lawrence doesn't seem to age at all, but it's riveting entertainment that makes an important point.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Joy here:



Joy

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 75 mins

Production compaines: Fox 2000 Pictures, Davis Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures, TSG Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , , Megan Ellison, , Ken Mok

Starring: as Joy Mangano, as Neil Walker, as Rudy, as Jackie, as Tony Miranne, as Peggy, as Carrie, as Trudy, as Mimi, as Toussaint, as Cindy, as Young Peggy, John Enos III as Roderick, Allie Marshall as Banquet Guest, Kristen Annese as Dancer, Chaunty Spillane as High School Party Goer, Isabella Cramp as Young Joy, Ariana DeFusco as Staten Island Girl, Susan Garibotto as Wedding Guest

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