Joy

Joy is David O. Russell’s bio-pic based on the life of Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop. Played by Jennifer Lawrence, Joy is a divorced mother, living in a house where her ex-husband, her grandmother, mother and father, who are also divorced, as well as her children all live together, Joy gets the idea for the Miracle Mop when she cuts her hands while wringing out an old style mop. She has a history of creativity and invention but she’s never tried to patent anything or sell it. She winds up as one of the early pioneers on QVC and becomes an instant success.
That’s when her troubles really begin. Through a combination of shady business practices and bad legal advice, Joy’s success and her patent are almost taken away from her. She almost gives up.
It winds up being a very inspirational story, which is becoming typical of a Russell film. This is interesting to me because the tone of his films, the dialog and performances, seem very jaded and ironic. But the whole adds up to an earnest movie that celebrates female empowerment and the triumph of persistence and intelligence in a setting where consumerism is very much celebrated. I’m not quite sure how he does it but the effect is amazing.
Russell has attracted a talented troupe of performers who have now been with him for three films. Jennifer Lawrence is one of the biggest movie stars out there and someday that may affect her performances but so far she is turning out quality work. Robert De Niro’s comic acting abilities have been well demonstrated over the past few decades. This is one of his better outings in that vein. Bradley Cooper isn’t really given that much to do.
My one caveat is that Russell seems to be falling into a rut. His movies all have these eccentric characters and they are beginning to feel similar. And that’s only partially because they are all played by the same people.
That may be more of a problem in the future but for now Joy is definitely worth seeing.

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