Saturday, January 2, 2016


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Virginia Madsen, Bradley Cooper
Director: David O. Russell
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Rating: PG-13

"Joy" marks the third time Jennifer Lawrence has partnered with director David O. Russell (not to mention their third time with Bradley Cooper, and second with Robert DeNiro, too). Lawrence is now apparently David O's muse, a la Sam Jackson and Quentin Taratino; and DiCaprio/DeNiro and Marty Scorsese. She certainly plays a fabulous kickass woman, and while the supporting cast is excellent, it's really her show. This film tells the true story of Joy Mangano, the woman most famous for creating several household items and becoming a multi-millionaire thanks to her success on QVC and HSN. There are hidden comedic moments in an otherwise emotional story. And it's also a great reminder that truth is stranger than fiction.

Photo Courtesy 20th Century Fox
Joy is a busy, working mom with a full-time job, two kids, two parents that need mothering, and an ex-husband, who lives in her basement. When she has a rare moment alone, she finds pleasure in her inventions, most notably a dog collar that she could never get a patent for. It's not until she invents a self-wringing mop that she hits on a potentially truly successful business idea. Her well-intentioned but clueless father (DeNiro), her surprinsgly loving ex-husband, and best friend accompany her to a meeting with her father's new wealthy girlfriend who becomes her investor.

Bradley Cooper, who I could have used more screen time with, welcomes her to QVC. Joy shows a startling amount of confidence and isn't phased by Joan Rivers and other TV sales gurus of the era. Instead, she seems to fit right in. Her mop becomes an overnight success, though odds never seem to stay in her favor, and just as you think she has everything under control, there is a plot twist.

I would be remiss to not mention how fabulous Virginia Madsen's comedic timing is in this role as Joy's mother. We all know one of these women - she lives in her soap operas which she records on VHS tapes galore. She is also clueless but means well, and a major shout out goes to twins Aundrea and Gia Gadsby, who play Joy's daughter. They are precious, and dare I say, potentially the next Olsen twins?

The trailer doesn't accurately represent the movie, so I liked it much better than I thought I would. Joy is relentless. Her drive and determination is so impressive. I wasn't familiar with her story, and I'm thankful that David O. brought it to Jennifer, and that she brought Joy to life. She seemed a tad too young to play such a maternal figure, but you definitely root for her the entire time. This is my favorite of the Lawrence/O. Russell collabos so far.

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