Right, today’s review is the most recent Jennifer Lawrence film Joy directed by David O’Russel. I watched this the other day and thoroughly loved it. (Jlaw has just won a Golden Globe for her performance in this film. So if that doesn’t say it’s good, I don’t know what will!)
The film is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano. Jlaw plays Joy, a 40 year old mum of two who lives in a cramped house with her kids, her mother, grandmother and ex-husband who lives in the basement. Her parents had a tough divorce when she was little so she gave up her dreams of being an inventor to look after her mum who spends her life sitting in bed watching soap operas. Her life is hectic and she seems to be the only one in the family who does anything. Queue Robert De Nero…he plays her father Rudy and has been dumped by his girlfriend so moves back into Joy’s hectic household. Long story short, Joy one day has the idea to invent a self-wringing mop and the film then follows her tough journey trying to make this happen.
Now I am a big Jlaw fan; I think she’s incredible and enjoyed her performance in Joy. You can see how tired and fed-up Joy is from looking after her family, who never seem to help her back, but she still always offers a warm smile to her kids. She plays a really great mum and you see this come out later in the film when she’s trying to sell the mop to other mums. Her character is also incredibly feisty and tough and she loses her rag more than once, which is sometimes quite amusing. I thought Jlaw totally deserved the Golden Globe that she won for this film as she shows Joy’s transformation from a nervous, tired mum with a small idea to the biggest business woman of the time.
Bob De Nero gives an amusing performance; you can’t fault it and his character creates a lot of issues within the plot.
Mr Brad Cooper (yum) has a smaller role than I expected but it’s still an incredibly important one. He comes in for roughly the last third of the film. He plays Neil Walker and does his best to help Joy achieve her dream. For once he plays a character who is kinda a dick in parts which I think is good to see because all of his roles are usually ‘the nice guy’.
A particular favourite of mine was Joy’s mum Terry, played by Virginia Madsen. She brings a big element of comedy to the film and lightens the whole thing when it’s getting a little too much. I thought that was a particularly good casting choice.
The whole look and feel of the film is very Silver Linings Playbook (it is the same director after all) if you’ve seen that. But that’s not a bad thing; it makes the whole film slightly quirky and cool but also retro which I really loved. Joy also has a great soundtrack that really fits in with the time of the film, drawing you into the world obsessed with shopping channels.
As you can tell I loved the film, but can see how it’s not for everyone. It is about 2 hours long and you really have to stay focused to pick up on each little detail. If you’re someone who doesn’t like a lot of dialogue then Joy is not the best option for you. Looking around, the film hasn’t been getting the amazing reviews that I expected, but each to their own I suppose!
I can’t fault Jlaw’s performance but upon reading about the real life story of Joy I found it odd that Jlaw (who is 25) had been cast as a 40 year old as she blatantly isn’t 40. There were parts that I wish the director had explored further or made into a bigger deal, but I have to accept that you can’t include everything as a filmmaker and have to make compromises.
The whole film is slightly wacky which some people won’t like, but if you just go with it you really get caught up in the story.
There is so much of this film that I have left out but the film is so intricate that this review would be miles long if I were to talk about all of it.
I have no hesitation in giving the film a 10/10, and that’s a very big deal ’cause I’m picky with my movies. I urge everyone to see it, it’s captivating, visually beautiful and a really heart-warming story.
As per usual, here is the trailer: