WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
The creative mind. It flows with ideas which can reveal themselves in the most amazingly stunning or quietly profound ways, given opportunity to shine. And it has also been said that necessity is the mother of invention. With so many potential catalysts present to be the spark of creation, sometimes, it is all born through hardship, loss, and a burning desire to make things better. For Joy (Jennifer Lawrence), growing up in an ultimately broken home has taxed her belief that things can only get better. Filled with aim and intention, her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd) was the only true support amongst embittered, separated parents Rudy (Robert DeNiro) and Terry (Virginia Madsen). Now an adult, she sees her own life becoming a mirror of childhood.
Circumstances continue to mount until an inspired moment, birthed by motive and a personal loss, launches Joy forward and into the designing of a new home-based product she feels would revolutionize house cleaning. Soliciting the assistance of best friend Jackie (Dascha Polanco), her father, his new girlfriend Trudy (Isabella Rossellini), ex-husband Tony (Edgar Ramirez), and unsure sister Peggy (Elisabeth Rohm), Joy charges headfirst into the world of business, along the way finding a promotional inroad with TV network salesman Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper). But, it soon becomes painfully apparent with success comes the cut-throat realities of competitive merchandising–its negotiations, contracts, and shady dealings–forcing Joy to determine whether she has to fortitude to fight for the better life she longs for.
Next, my Mind:
Just like the emotional turmoil of “Silver Linings Playbook” or the raw intensity of “American Hustle”, writer/director David O. Russell once again deftly delivers an American filmmaking gem with “Joy”, which is inspired by the true life story of product inventor Joy Mangano. And while not presented with the complete level of sheer, uninhibited, ferocious vigor of “Playbook” or “Hustle”, Russell does not let that deter him from showcasing the hard truths of the world, both with family and business, with any less sincerity, passion, and undisguised emotional punch. This is a story of pursuing the American Dream, overcoming obstacles, and making the personal choice to spit in the face of doubts and what others think is going to fall short of success.
Given this premise, is there truly any doubt therefore that Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is anything less than perfect in playing Joy, a young woman who’s very much reached breaking point, inwardly and outwardly, thanks to life’s current path and simply chooses to finally step up and just try, despite so many around her throwing apprehension and skepticism her direction. And it is Lawrence’s untamed ability to emote so ardently and with heart that makes it work effectively. Likewise, expected strong supporting turns by DeNiro, Cooper, Rossellini, and company just buoys the overall atmosphere in the film wonderfully.
Overall, “Joy” in an innovative, genre-defying, magnificent piece of Americana that can serve as a reminder that dreams can and do come true, but that getting there it isn’t easy, has to be worked for, and that perseverance can pay off–a journey this reviewer is on and can personally attest to.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!