To be completely 100% honest with you the trailers for Joy didn’t give much to go on. I had no idea what the movie was about I just knew that I’d be seeing Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games, The Beaver) storming around scowling and shooting off rifles. What I do know is that I made the major mistake of skipping Silver Linings when it first came out just because I thought the trailer for that movie also didn’t give a clear understanding of what I would be seeing and lo and behold I missed one of the best movies out there! So I wasn’t going to make the same mistake by missing another Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hangover, Aloha) stared film directed by David. O. Russell.
The story of Joy starts off with some narrating done sentimentally by her grandmother Mimi played by Diane Ladd (Route 66, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Ghosts of Mississippi) who tells a prophecy of young Joy Mangano growing up to do great things. However, instead Joy played by Jennifer Lawrence grows up to be an overworked mother of two with a deadbeat ex-husband Tony; Edgar Ramirez (Wrath of the Titans, An Open Heart, Vantage Point) who lives in her family’s basement. She spends her day’s taking care of her mother, Terry; Virginia Madsen (Red Riding Hood, The Haunting in Connecticut, Ripple Effect) who won’t leave her room or TV and her father, Rudy; Robert De Niro (Being Flynn, Goodfellas, The Intern) who keeps getting tossed out by the women who’s hearts he breaks. However, one day while doing what she does best, fixing her families mess, she becomes inspired with an idea for the Miracle Mop! Mimi has always said she was going to do great things and with the belief that there’s got to be much more to her life than what it is Joy sets out to make that idea a reality.
So yes, the story is about a dream about a Mop. Did not see that coming… However this movie is based on the real life story of Joy Mangano, who, through her invention comes from nothing to millionaire business typhoon! This movie is described as a Drama, Comedy, but you’ll find there’s way more Drama than Comedy in there. Joy’s life absolutely sucks and for the most part it’s very depressing. De Niro sometimes lightens the mood with his horrible father ways and it’s always just great seeing him on-screen. Lawrence is fantastic too, as we know very well…although her character seemed one dimensional. There wasn’t much for her to do except storm around and scowl and cry. She was just such a bummer! Thank goodness Bradley Cooper came in when he did! Playing Neil Walker an executive at QVC he helps Joy get her big break, and helps roll this story along when the pace begins to slow to a boring crawl. The story’s time frame which explains Joy’s life from past to present to past again and momentarily to the future was done in a creative way and kept things interesting at times. David O. Russell is pretty fantastic behind the director’s chair there were a couple of impressive scenes that told a story with no words at all, one that sticks out is when Joy returns home to find a sudden death in the family. Really well done and it’s what we’ve come to expect from his previous work. Looking forward to more from him.
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.
Rotten Tomatoes has Joy at a 57% fresh. Umm…yay?
This movie is a good few minutes over two hours long and that’s way too long for a movie to be so slow and so dry. We get it, life is hard and it’s harder when your family sucks and you have ideas. This might be worth the watch when it becomes available for instant streaming online, but I wouldn’t say go out of your way for this movie. It was a really great attempt at making a story about a mop way more interesting than it really is but sometimes a story about a mop is only as interesting as…a story about a mop…