Joy – Film Review
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd
Director: David O Russell
Synopsis: An account of the life of Joy Mangano, and her journey as an inventor and entrepreneur, with her main invention, the Miracle Mop.
Review: To become a very successful entrepreneur, a person would need a lot of charisma, determination and a relentless desire to succeed, as well as having an obvious passion for the product or products they are hoping to bring to the market. But if you happen to have a somewhat dysfunctional family life, and find things going wrong here there and everywhere, it would almost certainly make the challenges even harder than they already would be. These are the challenges that face Joy as she aims to revolutionise the market with her invention the Miracle Mop.
A mother who refuses to get off her bed and does nothing but watch TV, ex-husband living in the basement, deadbeat dad, as well as a mother to two children, Joy has just about everything she could going against her, but through all of this, she does possess that relentlessness, that desire, and that belief in her product, and it ensures that David O Russell’s third team up with Jennifer Lawrence as the titular character is an interesting watch, but it is not all plain sailing for Joy as she bids to get her product to market, things go wrong, a lot of the time. Yet that belief and will to succeed persists her to keep going in spite of the adversity she does go through is extremely uplifting.
As she has been in her last two links up with Russell, Jennifer Lawrence is once again excellent in the main role. She possess the aforementioned charisma and relentlessness in abundance, and it’s her performance that drives the plot forward, because except for a kind of comical performance from Robert DeNiro, the majority rest of the cast are just not interesting or engaging enough for the audience to really care about. There is one exception to this, that of Bradley Cooper’s character who does a massive favour for Joy, but even then his screen time is fairly limited. This is once again the Jennifer Lawrence show, and she clearly thrives under the direction of David O Russell. It’s by no means her strongest performance under Russell’s tutelage but it ensured another Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
Yet it does not have the emotional punch that the likes of The Fighter or Silver Linings Playbook had, or the brilliant ensemble cast that American Hustle boasted, with that awesome humour. The film takes its time to really get things going in the beginning, the film doesn’t quite know where it really wants to go, and is a little bit messy when it comes to its script and direction. Is it a happy film, or is it a sad film? In reality it’s probably a bit of both. Once it finds its spark, however it runs with it, and by the end there is some satisfying closure. Yet the build up in getting there was frustratingly slow. Although the film’s title is clearly referring to the main character and not the emotion, there’s not a lot of joyfulness to be found here.
A strong lead performance by Lawrence, but the film is bogged down by a lack of connection for the rest of the cast, as well as a real inconsistency in terms of the film’s tone and direction.