Movie Review: JOY (2015)

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JOY (USA 2015) ***** TOP 10
Directed by David O. Russell
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Donna Mills, Elisabeth Röhm, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd

Writer/director David O. Russell has been known to made films with strong family content like SPANKING THE MONKEY, THE FIGHTER and. His last movie AMERICAN HUSTLE shows him successful in a completely different genre – business. JOY, a film about a housewife named Joy Mongano (Jennifer Lawrence), a struggling single mother who with the help of family and friends succeeds in inventing and marking her miracle mop invention combines the best of the two genres.

Joy has not the typical family. Her grandmother (Dianne West) who narrates the story, her TV-addicted mother, Terry (Virginian Madsen), two children live with her in her house together with her divorced husband (Edgar Ramirez) who lives in her basement. Her dad (Robert de Niro) suddenly moves in, and causes some havoc. But to survive, Joy decides to manufacture and sell her magical mop, going all out – to make it or go completely broke. This is a film about mending broken dreams and making them finally come true. JOY is a true joy to watch, a feel-good Christmas film with all the peers and quirkiness found in a Russell movie. The film moves at a manic pace, especially in the beginning, capturing the spirit of AMERICAN HUSTLE.

Jennifer Lawrence (MOCKINGJAY) delivers another knock-out performance capable of winning her another Oscar nomination for Best actress. Her two memorable segments especially the one where she freaks out in front of her daughters is enough to make one cry. The other has her telling her stepsister in words that will eventually go into movie history: “Never ever speak on behalf about my business … again!” Bradley Cooper has a smaller supporting role but one cannot get enough of his character on screen. Ramirez as the divorced husband is surprisingly good and truly as in the words of the film, they make ‘the most awesome couple in America”, despite not being married.

There is also some neat words in the script. In one scene, Joy’s father tells Joy that it is to possible to have the same dream, to which she replies she has had the same dream twice. If one has the same dream, that means having that dream twice, so how may times is the dream dreamt if one has the same dream twice. Funnier still, is the fact that what that dream is, is never revealed in the film. Also, Joy’s business financier and father’s girlfriend, Trudy’s (Isabella Rossellini) four rules of business success is a real hoot.

The trailer has a scene with Joy blasting off a rifle. In the film, she is upset and blasts the file taken in a rifle range next to the father’s shop. The trailer leads the audience to think Joy has shot someone, especially with anther scene with two cops handcuffing her and taking her away. But tis is not really what transpires in the film. It is a clever editing of the film to form a trailer to look more exciting with events imagined by the audience. Thought his to be a brilliant touch.

JOY has got mixed reviews so far from critics. I have read a few but am unconvinced of the reasons that JOY is faulted with. JOY to me, is a smart fell-good movie, appropriate for Christmas
and shows director Russell in top form.

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