Joy is not. It’s not a happy movie. It’s not an exceptional movie. It’s a rather annoying movie. I give it a solid C. A Facebook friend and his wife loved it. We had a short written discussion about it and agreed to disagree. Can I appreciate a character driven movie? Yes, absolutely. Have I liked previous David O. Russell flicks? Yes – Silver Lining Playbook and American Hustle were excellent. I found Joy rather tedious and just was not drawn into the line of storytelling.
Based on a true story, Joy is an extremely smart gal, destined for great things, who ends up working to try to make ends meet, to keep her kids fed, to keep her mother able to just watch soap operas, to keep her ex-husband still living in her basement and doing his singing gigs, and to take in her crabby father (an annoying Robert De Niro). The house is falling apart, and she seems to be the only sane one in the crowd. Jennifer Lawrence is excellent as Joy. I had no problem with her at all – she projects a fierceness and intelligence that leaps from the screen. I can be invested in her character and I wanted her to succeed.
She’s always been a thinker and an inventor, and she arrives at a concept for a new mop – one that has a detachable head for throwing in the washing machine, one that has a wringer effect so you don’t have to touch the dirty mop with your own hands. Ingenious! She creates a model, manages to convince Bradley Cooper’s QVC guy to take her on, and she appears on the show to sell the mop herself. Overnight success, right? Well, no. There’s a lot about patents and molds and contracts and getting ripped off and Joy battling everyone while still carrying everyone on her back.
It’s a pull one up from the bootstraps movie. Normally I like those. But – while I liked Joy the fighter, and Joy trying to be a business woman, I detested the peripheral characters and how they were presented. Admittedly, this was based on a true story and perhaps this poor woman really had to put up with all of these nut jobs, but I found myself very detached from the film. I kept thinking, “This is so annoying.” Thus, it gives me joy to save you, the film goer, from seeing Joy. Consider this my first good deed of the new year. You are welcome.