David O.Russell does it again, with a movie casting the golden favourites of Hollywood’s children. Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro bring their usual pizzazz to the screen, with a unique story set back in the early 1990’s. The trio introduce characters so profoundly modest, it is almost refreshing. The film received two Golden Globe Award nominations including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy in its release on December 25th, 2015. David O.Russell uses this comedic, semi-biographical genre to capture the minds of the average Joe, or in this case, Jane. A word to the wise for movie-goers, this movie is firmly targeted towards your feminist side. With that said however, if you cannot see its beauty, you don’t deserve to watch it.
Jennifer Lawrence stars as Joy Mangano, a divorced mother of three with a lacklustre job and a less than ideal household situation. Joy’s divorced parents, who live with her under the same roof, draw an all-too-close-to-home picture of perpetual conflict. Joy’s mother, a slightly deranged soap opera-loving shut-in (played by Virginia Madsen), and her philandering father (played by Robert De Niro) paint the backboard of Joy’s unusual life. The film portrays Joy as kind hearted to a fault… also allowing her mooching ex-husband (Édgar Ramírez), a washed up singer/guitarist, to live in her basement while she continues to pay all the bills.
The plot builds as Joy reaches total exasperation. Finally catching momentum when Joy cuts her hands on shattered glass while wringing a mop. The incident leads to her invention of the world’s first self-wringing mop “The Miracle Mop”. The invention becomes an overnight success story with the help of QVC executive Neil Walker (played by Bradley Cooper). Joy begins setting up her own business inside her father’s old metal shop. And makes a deal with a company in California to manufacture the mop’s parts at the lowest possible price. In order to avoid a potential lawsuit, Joy also pays $50,000 in royalties to a man in Hong Kong who supposedly has created a similar product.
As the plot slogs along we see Joy constantly susceptible to her own insecurity and uncertainty. Relying on the dubious advice of her father, and his current girlfriend (Trudy – played by Isabella Rossellini – a wealthy Italian widow with some business experience), Joy’s innovative light gradually begins to dim.
Turmoil hits in various ways over the course of the film, with De Niro bringing his all too natural ‘fatherly’ flavour to the script. The film produced a glorious array of emotions which had me nearly clawing through my seat. However, the tempo and style of the film had mixed reviews in my mind – the first half being one of the longest I’ve had to sit through in a while. But once the film gained traction, it was hard not to get caught up in the action. Joy’s character was unique in the sense that it was so very plain, forcing Lawrence to give the character a fresh and empowering vibe which she pulled off so well. The ending had me strutting out of the cinema feeling rather satisfied. Overall, a recommended pick for anyone needing a boost.
3/5 from me