JOY (2015) Review
Directed by David O. Russell
Jennifer Lawrence is probably one of today’s most inspiring and popular women today not only in the United States but also worldwide. From her breakthrough performance in the 2010 drama film Winter’s Bone, she immediately rose to fame for coveting the role of Mystique in Fox’s X-Men: First Class and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games film series. From then, most of her work are box-office and critically successful which only made her one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. Then, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook came which made her won almost all the Best Actress Trophy out there including the Academy Awards which followed by American Hustle where she won the Best Supporting Actress award. Joy is now the third and probably not the last film Lawrence and Russell will be doing in their career.
Joy Mangano(Jennifer Lawrence) is a caring daughter and sister, a visionary since she was a child. But her family drags her down, unsupportive parents who are divorced from each other and an ex-husband who still lives with her and cant’ and won’t find a decent job. Her grandmother whom she calls Mimi which is the film’s point of view, weirdly and two children, a sweet supportive little girl and a little boy who is mostly sick. But when Joy hit rock bottom, got demoted from her job, her house broken and broke from all the expenses, the only way is up and by that, she needs to go back to what she loves doing and what makes her motivate herself, by inventing.
Successfully creating a mop that doesn’t need wringing for it to be squeezed dry and can be removed and washed seperately, Joy tries to make produce more but she needs the money. That’s where Trudy, her father’s girlfriend enters. Selling it outside with an unreasonable price isn’t doing well, so her husband decided to help and approach his friend who works at a Television company who sells things on TV. Bradley Cooper comes in the picture as Neil Walker, an executive of QVC(Quality, Value, Convenience). The first one was a disaster, as the TV show host doesn’t know how it works and what to do with it. But Joy knows, she knows why she made it and why everybody needs it. And that’s where it all started, her rise to success.
But like all stories, you can’t always have it all. Mimi, Joy’s grandmother dies. Weirdly enough, that’s where the story should stop as the one who is narrating the film doesn’t know what comes next. It should have been her daughter, since the film looks as if it’s through her eyes. The problems doesn’t stop there, like all business there are complications with your manufacturers and other business partners, Joy discovers that been defrauding her the entire time she has dealt with them. She finds that they were making a patent for her design. She confronts the owner, threatens him and forces him to pay her back. Several years later, Joy runs a successful business, helping other inventors with their works.
Joy may be one of David O. Russells most entertaining film but it feels generic as a whole. Nothing new to offer, predictable but entertaining and engaging. It’s like a fairy tale done in a telenovela way. The dramas in the family, with the romance and with Joy’s dreams. Jennifer Lawrence is the main reason to see the film as she is magnetic, you could just watch her all day being Joy.
And though it might not be the most realistic treatment of a true story, David O. Russell finds something for the audience to make it engaging. He knows now what the audience wants and they get it. Not the best way to make a hard hitting, memorable film but it’s safe and a bit satisfying. The rest of the cast did well in helping the film build chaos that surrounds Joy in her daily life. And the film is a decently done family drama that doesn’t overdo things, doesn’t rely on more than its characters and has enough juice in its story that will keep the audiences entertained from start to finish.
3 OUT OF 5 STARS
“Joy” opens in Philippine cinemas February 17 from 20th Century Fox. Rated PG by the MTRCB.