MOVIE REVIEW: Joy (2015)

A Woman must fight against the cards that she is dealt in order to be the person that she knows she is inside.  The description of this movie alone would probably put me off going to see it, I’m just honest like that, but it sounds like a film that my better half and her drunken friends would pop off to see while I’m at home with the Xbox.  Someone has to show that console some love.  But I’d be wrong, so wrong, probably the champion of wrong.

So Jennifer Lawrence plays Joy.  Growing up Joy was told that she could be anything by her Maternal Grandmother, but reality hits hard as the choices she makes and the choices of her family turn her life into one gloomy nightmare.  This nightmare however manages to turn her back to her normal creative self.  Joy invents a new type of Mop that will change the way that people clean their kitchens and bathrooms forever.  It’s not plain sailing as the business world hits her with punch after punch trying to beat her down.  This is based on the true story of one remarkable person who would not accept the hand that life dealt her and fought back harder than she thought she was capable of doing.

I don’t care about celebrity, I only care about the entertainment that they produce, so over the last few years I’ve really loved Jennifer Lawrence movies, from the Oscar winning performances, to the films that I liked but other critics seemed to be tough on.  You can take the Hunger Games out of all that, we all make mistakes, I’m sure they paid the mortgage.

Here in Joy she plays the title character and it’s another amazing performance as she lights up the screen as this woman who has let the down side of life take over.  Her Mother is bedridden and solely focused on watching Soap Operas, Father is a businessman who lets his heart rule his head, stepsister never fails to point out her failings, and a grandmother who thinks that she could rule the world if given the breaks.  All this with two young children and an ex-husband who still lives in her house.  You start to feel as though there is no where for this poor woman to go, and then her creative mind takes over, it’s a classic tale.  Robert DeNiro plays the flighty Dad here, wanting to be supportive, then at the same time trying to keep Joys dreams in check.  It’s a good role for DeNiro who has started to pick better roles again.  Mom is played by Virginia Madsen, a little underused, but still effective as this incredibly damaged woman.  David O. Russell is the man behind bringing this true tale to life and manages to keep it entertaining too, with his blend of TV soap opera style writing for this film it fits in perfectly for the story.  The Bradley Cooper role gives the best on screen chemistry that modern American cinema has one more outing, Lawrence and Cooper manage to bounce off one another in a way that is always a joy to watch.  Can’t believe I just used that phrase here, sorry about that.

There was a little problem with the sound in our screening, but I can’t say if this is going to be the same with every screening of the film or just unique to the cinema that we got to watch it in.  The problem, if it’s on every screening, makes you feel that you are watching the big screen but the sound is coming from an old TV.  Maybe Russell decided to take this choice for the sound, it wouldn’t be out of character, I’m hoping that this was just a technical problem for the theatre, it was a major distracting in what is otherwise an entertaining flick.

I’m going to describe this film how I felt on leaving the cinema, it’s Rocky for Mops, the underdog fighting against the big guys, with all who love her doubting her vision and instead of being a comforting guiding hand, meet Joy with hostility and degrading comments.  When things start going well for her it’s only a matter of time before someone else tries to destroy her dream.  Fans of Lawrence and there are many of us, will find a lot to like here, it’s a different character for her, and adds to her mystique.  The supporting cast all manage to bring this mostly horrible family to life but they are all great to watch.  I don’t know how the real family will feel with how they are shown on the silver screen, but maybe they deserve this.  For me this is one of those underdog movies that just inspires you to live a fuller life.

Release date: December 25, 2015 
Director: David O. Russell
Written by: David O. Russell, Annie Mumolo
Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper
Production companies: Annapurna Pictures, Davis Entertainment
Music composed by: Michael Giacchino, David Campbell


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