When the synopsis of a movie is along the lines of ‘woman invents miracle mop‘ you’d be forgiven for writing it off as a load of baloney.
However, when that said movie is from acclaimed director David O’Russell and stars Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro (one day we will be BFFs so I can call him Bob) plus 3-time nominee, Bradley Cooper, you’d be proven wrong.
‘Joy’ is loosely based on the life of American entrepreneur and Joy Mangano who, along with patenting numerous products, invented the ‘Miracle Mop‘ and became extremely successful following stints on QVC and the Home Shopping Network. The movie is about so much more than that – it’s about dedication, determination and most of all, overcoming not only professional obstacles but personal ones too.
Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) has dreamed big from a young age and has always had an eye for designing new products. However, despite her creative nature, Joy does not go to college as she has to support her eccentric Mother, Terri (played by a hysterical Virginia Madsen) who has become a recluse, staying in a downstairs bedroom watching her soap operas whilst Joy works at Eastern Airlines trying to keep the roof over their heads. Joy is a divorced Mother of two and her ex-husband Tony (Édgar Ramírez) lives in their basement. The movie is narrated by Joy’s Grandmother, Mimi (Diane Ladd) who is immensely proud of her Granddaughter but also sees her potential for greatness, both as a businesswoman but as the matriarch of the family.
Joy’s Father, Rudy (Robert De Niro) owns an auto repair centre and works closely with his eldest Daughter, Peggy (Elisabeth Röhm) who is somewhat of an overachiever. Joy struggles to keep the family in check as they’re all pretty high maintenance and she constantly plays peacemaker, diffusing arguments and basically sorting out everyones problems. Due to this responsibility placed on the youngest Daughter, Joy’s seemingly bright future has been put on hold but amongst the chaos of her life, she gets an idea for a self-wringing mop.
Obviously, I won’t go into more detail than that about the plot because – spoilers! – but I will say that despite his billing, Bradley Cooper has more of a cameo role but one that is of great significance to the story.
What I enjoyed the most with this movie is easily the performance of lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence which is pretty much a no-brainer. She absolutely carries this movie with a powerhouse performance that you’d see from someone twice her age. Her portrayal of Joy is the most 3-dimensional of the entire cast as her titular character goes through many challenges, thus giving Jennifer a wide range of emotions to tap into. She is definitely a character you root for and this is strangely more so from a personal perspective than a professional one. This is due to her family’s input into her business venture – at some points you do feel the urge to jump through the screen and punch them, but I digress.
There is a great comedy element to the movie which makes it all the more en(joy)able – see what I did there? – because it works completely with the eccentric nature of her messed up family.
The only thing I’d have preferred about the movie was that the supporting cast were a little more fleshed out but I do think having a movie centred around one character can cause this to be difficult as you want to ensure the titular character is the main focus. However, I think that’s just me being a little nit-picky though.
I can definitely see Jennifer bagging another Oscar nomination to go with her other 3 nominations and 1 win, which at the ripe ol’ age of 25 is pretty remarkable. Will she win? Probably not as I’m hedging my bets towards The Danish Girl and lead actress, Alicia Vikander.
As this is my first movie review, I’d love your feedback!
Have you seen Joy?
Love, Kate xo