Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Joy film review

Went to the Leeds/Bradford Odeon today with my friend Bev to watch Joy.

IMDB says: Joy is the story of the title character, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.

Still of Jennifer Lawrence in Joy (2015)

In this David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) directed and written (screenplay, along with Annie Mumolo: Bridesmaids, This is 40, story) film starring Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, X-Men: Days of Future Past) as Joy the hardworking daughter and mother who risks everything to chase her dream of inventing a new product and bringing it to the masses. Robert De Niro (Goodfellas, The Godfather: Part II) plays her father Rudy and Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Candyman) her mother who are divorced and not without their problems.  Divorced herself from her husband Tony (Edgar Ramirez: Vantage Point, The Bourne Ultimatum), she lives in her house with her two children, agoraphobic Mum, argumentative Dad (who shares the basement with her ex-husband and they do not get on) and, the only supportive person in her family, her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd: Chinatown, Wild at Heart).

As a child, Joy dreamed up inventions but without the support of her parents she did not get any patents, get to go to college or to pursue her dreams.  Her step-sister Peggy (Elisabeth Rohm: American Hustle, Law & Order) puts her down in front of everyone and even badmouths her to her own children, but her best friend Jackie (Dascha Polanco: Orange is the New Black, The Cobbler) is her strongest advocate when she decides to follow her dreams.

Needing to borrow money to get her business of the ground, Joy approaches her father's new rich girlfriend Trudy (Isabella Rossellini: Blue Velvet, Fearless) for funding and then Tony gets her a meeting with QVC buyer Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper: Silver Linings Playbook, The Hangover) who could make or break her.

Still of Jennifer Lawrence in Joy (2015)

Based on the true story of Joy Mangano, an Italian/American inventor of the Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers, this film deals with issues not normally handled in Hollywood movies, how hard it is to make it as a woman in a man's world of business whilst trying to hold down the fort with your own and your extended family.  I am aware that many of the reviews of this film are less than favourable, but I think they are maybe slightly missing the point.  This is a film that tries to show you real life, how you can work really hard and get knock back after knock back without support and then when you make it, those that tried to hold you back then try to ride the bandwagon and take a share of the profits.

With her family, the character of Joy comes across as too nice with such unsympathetic characters and it is hard to juxtapose this gullibility with her invention and business brain, but this is a person that holds back their own dreams to enhance the lives of others and has spent her life being downtrodden and told of her worthlessness by most of her family and you root for her throughout the journey of the film and you want her to prove them all wrong.

There are many things wrong with this film, the over-reliance on the surreal soap opera at the beginning of the film as a top example, but it is not lacking in acting ability.  This is not a scintillating story, no huge ups and downs, just a life lived trying to please too many people and the determination to make a difference. 

It may not have achieved the uplifting status that it was aiming for, but this film for me was better for showing life how it really is, warts and all.

Trivia: Joy Mangano developed the Miracle Mop in the same year of Jennifer Lawrence's birth 1990, this is the fourth collaboration between Lawrence and Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and Serena) and the character of Joy's half-sister Peggy was entirely fictional and created by director Russell.

Still of Drena De Niro and Melissa Rivers in Joy (2015)

#Joy  #JenniferLawrence  #RobertDeNiro  #IsabellaRossellini  #BradleyCooper

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