Joy (2015) Movie Review
All-Star Cast stars in uneven but solid story of the inventor of the Miracle Mop.
“We got here from hard work, patience, and humility. Don’t think the world owes you anything, because the world owes you nothing.”
Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro team up for their third film with director David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”, “American Hustle”) in “Joy”, a dramedy biopic about the woman who invented the Miracle Mop, and the bumps in her business and her life that occur along the way.
As expected, Lawrence steals the show from her very first scene until the very end. She becomes her character and gives it her all, and it pays off as she makes her character likable, memorable, and we end up rooting for her all the way until the end. The two big stars who accompanied her on screen sometimes, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro both give solid and memorable performances. Their characters are well-developed, regardless of the fact that they don’t get enough screen time throughout.
Russell’s directing is solid, the flow and the movement of the camera makes the setting clear and he makes good enough decisions with the camerawork to fulfill clear imagery throughout. The way the story told is actually interesting and the film entertained me the whole way through, although it suffers when it does feel a bit rushed at times and uneven in the drifting. For instance, are we going to be focusing on Joy’s kids, husband, inventions, past, Soap Opera or what? It doesn’t have a clear focus until maybe the third act unfortunately, and affects what could have been such a great film. It also feels a bit forced at times, and sometimes things don’t feel completely real and instead feel like oscar-bait.
The messages of the film are great, and it executes them in a way that audience members alike can relate to and be empowered by what the film says about Women. The main character, Joy (played by Lawrence) is one of the best female role models in a film this year due to her down-on-luck life and her attempt to become a great inventor. She is strong and her character is genuine mainly due to the great portrayal of her.
The score is absolutely beautiful, it feels right to the current mood in Joy’s life and the setting around here. It is honest to the film without lying to it since it fits the movie so well. The writing is also very good, it feels natural and brings the story to life. It doesn’t try to be so genius where it doesn’t feel like any characters would just say that, but it depicts what real life conversations and interactions would be like. The dialogue also makes for some comedic moments.
Maybe one of the biggest problems with the film is the fact that there are simply too many characters, and not many of them are likable at all. Sure, most of them are well-developed but simply, the only characters that you might care for in the slightest are the people that Joy cares about, who is in fact the only character that is likable on their own.
Like I mentioned earlier, the storytelling is solid but doesn’t focus exactly on what it should be. It drifts off too much and makes aspects of the story a bit forgettable in the long run. It also does feel a bit forced in a few instances, mainly due to a rushed love story that doesn’t really feel real and rather feels cliche. This certainly feels a bit of a step down for Russell as a director, but he still delivers a solid but flawed film.
In the end, Joy suffers from rushed plot points and it’s lack of likable characters rather than Joy herself, but Lawrence’s heartfelt performance along with an interesting story and a great final act make this a solid and enjoyable film.
Rating: PG-13 (for brief strong language)
Directed By: David O. Russell
Written By: Annie Mumolo, David O. Russell
Release Date: Dec 25, 2015 Wide
Runtime: 124 minutes