Release: December 25, 2015
Director: David O. Russell
Screenplay by: David O. Russell; Story by: Annie Mumolo and David O. Russell
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Elisabeth Röhm, Dascha Polanco and Bradley Cooper
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JOY is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces. Jennifer Lawrence stars, with Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen , Elisabeth Röhm and Dascha Polanco. Like David O. Russell’s previous films, Joy defies genre to tell a story of family, loyalty, and love.
December is a great time to go to the movies. Studios release all of their best movies at the end of the year in preparation for awards season. There is a lot of stuff that is worth the time and cost of a babysitter. This week’s film, Joy, is one such gem.
Joy is the David O. Russell bio-pic about Joy Mangano, self-made America entrepreneur, Home Shopping Network maven and inventor of the Miracle Mop. The film spans Mangano’s entire life, everything from her childhood friends to her failed marriage to her creation of the Miracle Mop and beyond. Mangano is an American success story. The holidays are a great time to watch success stories, American or otherwise. It’s just inspirational. If a single mom down on her luck can invent the Miracle Mop and change her entire family’s fortune, there is nothing the audience can’t do.
I have never seen Jennifer Lawrence (Joy Mangano) better. Joy Mangano’s life was full of ups and downs, and Lawrence plays every emotion seamlessly. I have never been a big fan of Lawrence, but I really think she’s coming into her own with this role. The rest of the cast was likable. I wasn’t sure about all of the characters, though. Some of the supporting cast seemed a little cartoonish, exaggerations of actual people. The end result is that I feel like I know who Joy Mangano is, but I’m not sure if I know who her family members were.
I appreciated the plot timing. The movies goes from the highest points to the lowest points in Mangano’s life, skipping most of the fluff. The movie played like a series of vignettes. And the vignettes served to keep me interested in each individual part of the Mangano’s story. The only vignette that I didn’t like as much was Lawrence’s scene with Bradley Cooper at the QVC Channel Network. Cooper plays a QVC exec, and I get that Lawrence and Cooper enjoy working together, but this was not my favorite Cooper/Lawrence pairing. Their scene at QVC served to slow the story.
After the QVC scenes, the story recovers nicely. The movie has heart. The story is real. The humor is outlandish and real at the same time. It’s just a good time. Underdog stories are my favorite. Joy isn't perfect, but neither was Mangano's life. After all the gifts are unwrapped and the leftovers are put away, you cannot go wrong taking-in the story of Joy. See Joy for yourself when it opens on Christmas Day.