Possible spoilers ahead!
The movie “Joy” tells the story of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) who, as a young girl, loved designing and inventing new versions of common household items. Then we Jump ahead to the early 1990s and we learn that Joy is a divorced mother of two, having put her dreams on indefinite hold in order to care for her incredibly dysfunctional family.
Living in Joy’s house are, her two kids; her mom Terry (Virginia Madsen), a shut-in who spends all day watching soap operas; her dad Rudy (Robert De Niro), an emotionally volatile man who runs a local auto shop; and her ex-husband Tony (Édgar Ramirez), a small-time singer who now resides in Joy’s basement. And I think even Joy’s grandmother lives there.
Anyways, one day, a series of events inspires Joy to design and construct a more effective type of mop, in the hope that she can sell her invention and make things easier for her family. This leads her to Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper), an executive who works for QVC. However, the closer Joy gets to achieving her dream, more and more obstacles present themselves and threaten to destroy her hopes and dreams..
Written and directed by David O. Russell, “Joy” reunites the filmmaker with his “Silver Linings Playbook” colleagues, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro. A movie by the way that is in my top 15 all time favorite films.
“Joy” is not as good as “Silver Linings Playbook,” but it’s not a horrible movie either. This is perhaps David O. Russell’s most straight-forward dramatic film to date, but it still has his trademark dark comedy, and family drama.
The worst thing about this movie is Joy’s family. With the exception of her ex husband, her oldest daughter and her grandmother, the rest of the family doesn’t give a shit about Joy. That may sound harsh, but in the movie her dad is alway putting her down, her half-sister is doing things behind her back, and her mom is no help whatsoever.
Now, that’s the movie version of events. So who knows what Joy’s family was really like. But according to the movie, they even tried to take her business away on multiple occasions. What kind of family is that?
Joy‘s story is a compelling one that holds the film together, coupled with another strong lead performance by Jennifer Lawrence. As it were, Lawrence’s performance here is the best part of the film. And it’s also refreshingly different from her other work in blockbusters, and even in past Russell films
Jennifer Lawrence portrays Joy as dignified, no matter what life throws at her. And, yet at the same time she plays Joy as a driven and hopeful person who strives to make things better for her family, despite of how they treat her.
In the end, “Joy” is a decent biographical drama anchored by Jennifer Lawrence’s wonderful performance. However, this could have been a great movie, but it fails to realize its potential, despite having all the right ingredients needed.
“Joy” final score: 7