Sunday, 3 January 2016

Joy: A Review

Pic of Jennifer Lawrence as drawn by Ebunola Adenipekun 

Happy New Year folks! And in the spirit of the season of giving, the cinema gods decided to impart a Jennifer Lawrence-led film on New Year's Day (or Christmas Day in the US) to the world and they named it Joy *Joy to the world, geddit?*. It's a rags-to-riches film inspired by the real-life events of the eponymous Joy Mangano who created, amongst other products, the miracle mop which sold record numbers on the shopping channel QVC and led her to becoming one very rich woman. That is the crux of the story.

I love an ensemble film and/or drama with a strong lead and support. It's reminiscent of 90s dramas such as My So Called Life or The Gilmore Girls with manic performances. Joy is a bastion of sanity holding the family together in a family of eccentrics - the mother who stays in her room watching soaps (played hilariously by Virginia Madsen); the hard-working but slightly unhinged father deftly acted by Robert De Niro, loving grandmother Mimi portrayed by Diane Ladd, the handsome Édgar Ramírez playing Joy's ex Anthony who lives in her basement, her semi-villainous half-sister Peggy played by Elisabeth Röhm; her father's new love interest, and Joy's eventual investor of the aforementioned mop, Trudy played by Isabella Rossellini and best friend Jackie acted by Dascha Polanco. It also brings about the oft-employed pairing of Bradley Cooper (as the man who takes a punt on her as QVC executive) and Lawrence, but don't be fooled or disappointed, he plays just a little more than a bit part (and distributors should be questioned by trade descriptions for that triple billing of Lawrence, De Niro and Cooper on billboards but it's obviously to bring the punters in).

There aren't many twists and turns in this movie, you just wonder how the director will eke out the inevitable conclusion of Joy becoming really wealthy despite some painful circumstances and some awful people. You get the impression the Director David O Russell wasn't so bothered about the destination, moreso the journey and that's a little unsatisfying, but meh, it's not a documentary so just if you go to watch the movie have that in mind.

I wanted to watch the film because it was about hope, determination and a dream (not so much, joy) and wanted to see how it would all pan out. It is an inspiring movie.

Many critics have commented on how she looks too young and beautiful to play this role. Lol, that wasn't a problem at all. What I give Jennifer props for is that in every film I have seen her in she seems to commit (not that I've seen a whole lot) putting her absolute all into the role, so I say enjoy (no pun intended) the film for what it is.

(3 and 3/4 stars out of 5)

Have you seen Joy? What do make of it?

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