Joy

2015

Action / Biography / Comedy / Drama

142
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 61% · 274 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 57% · 25K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.6/10 10 144236 144.2K

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Plot summary

A story based on the life of a struggling Long Island single mom who became one of the country's most successful entrepreneurs.


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
February 14, 2024 at 02:34 PM

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Bradley Cooper as Neil Walker
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2 hr 4 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkrauser-81-311064 6 / 10

Decent Half a Movie

Joy is a fine half a film. The performances all-around are strong, the story is uncommon enough to grab your attention, and keep you invested, and the direction is solid. With all that in mind, Joy still feels like a shallow version of what could have been. There is a reason why all the movie's Oscar buzz has all but dissipated in every category except a courtesy nod to Jennifer Lawrence as Best Actress; Why? You should read on.

Lawrence plays the titular character, a mother of two with a very complicated home life. Though divorced, her ex-husband (Ramirez) lives in the basement waiting for his singing career to take off. Though she has decidedly negative relationships with her parents, her shut-in mother (Madsen) lives with her and her father (De Niro) is a serial divorcée with a struggling auto repair shop. It's also the 1980's and she works the night shift for an Airline that's dramatically cutting back hours; yikes. The only thing she has going for her is she likes to tinker and has the work ethic to see a good idea through. So when she has a eureka moment after a failed excursion on her father's new girlfriend's boat, she quickly invents a household object that may just be her ticket out of systemic poverty.

I don't think I'm giving much away by saying the movie asks its audience to hinge their emotional cache on a mop. The self-wringing Miracle Mop to be exact, invented by honest-to-God real person Joy Mangano. Leave it to director David O. Russell to find a decent story in the life of a QVC luminary and keep it just this side of rational. The prologue of the film lovingly dedicates the movie to "daring women," which Joy certainly is but Russell wisely omits the last name to give the audience a universality. This too can be your story of success if you have grit and a good idea. It's a great theme sadly worth a much better movie.

Part of the problem is the pace. There are long stretches of improvisations that carry absolutely no emotional weight. Unlike American Hustle (2013) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012) where the rushed, overlapping dialogue and melodramatic mugging serves to highlight the immediacy of, say dealing with the mob, here there's nothing holding us to the characters and their goals...except Joy. Russell seems to be aware of his own style and juxtaposes the lives on screen with an 80's era soap opera which consumes the life of Joy's mother. The parallel is interesting in theory but the results deflate the proceedings.

Not usually the voice of hope, I really wanted to like this movie. A movie about the positives of hard work and entrepreneurship has not hit theaters since Pursuit of Happyiness (2006). Yet out of all modern directors working today, David O. Russell feels like a quixotic mouthpiece for such a hopeful theme. His movies always have an unabashed pessimism about human nature that undermines his characters with an almost Bunuelian sense of treachery. Even as far back as his Three Kings (1999) days there was a mercurial, bittersweet undercurrent to his work. Joy bares disappointment after disappointment to a breaking point most protagonists of this genre would buckle under. Then, as if to put a band-aid on an open gash, the movie ends with an epilogue that's pat to the point of flimflam.

www.theyservepopcorninhell.blogspot.com

Reviewed by Hitchcoc 7 / 10

It's Not That Bad

Some people have really gotten riled up about this film. I love to watch Jennifer Lawrence, so I give it the benefit of the doubt from the beginning. This, of course, is the story of a smart woman who has done only things for the family, only to be used and abused by them. She has finally had enough and decides to move on an idea for a new kind of mop that will revolutionize housecleaning. The problem is getting connected with someone who will notice what she has done. She goes through all kinds of trials and pain and finally hits it big on QVC. However, there are people out there who know how to manipulate things to make life miserable for a neophyte. The problem with this movie is that nearly everyone is a jerk, only in things for themselves. Also, there is a kind of "deus ex machina" ending that makes things all hunky dory. I still haven't figured quite how she lands on her feet at the end and what the threat was. Still, it moves along pretty well and keeps one's interest. I did feel, however, that she should have shed the whole bunch of people who tried to stop her along the way.

Reviewed by MartinHafer 5 / 10

Not much in the way of joy here!

David O. Russell has made some lovely films with Jennifer Lawrence, such as "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle". And here, with Lawrence once again, he's given her an excellent role (that resulted in an Oscar nomination) but that's really about all. Unlike the other films, the rest of the characters are so unlikable and nasty that watching the film is akin to pouring salt into your eyes.....it's just not particularly nice nor pleasant. Now the characters in these other films were not exactly nice folks...but you felt compelled to watch them. Not as much here...mostly because these other characters tend to dominate the story instead of accentuating it in "Joy".

Joy is a character originally envisioned as a biography of real-life Joy Mangano--a woman who invented some labor-saving household items which have made her rich. But as the script was written, the story began to diverge more and more and more from Mangano's life...to the point where it's mostly fiction.

In this story, Joy (Lawrence) is the glue that tries to hold her very dysfunctional and chaotic life together. And, it's tough considering that Joy's family has little in the way of boundaries and Joy is working her butt off. For example, her parents divorced long ago...yet the pair moved in with Joy....and bring chaos to her life as they fight AND the parents both bring their boyfriends/girlfriends into the home! The bottom line is that practically everyone in the family makes great demands on Joy and they don't seem to care that this is destroying her. And, frustratingly, Joy is practically incapable of telling any of these jerks no! I think too much of the film focuses on this chaos, as I found myself tense and frustrated watching her life. I just wanted these folks to go away!

Eventually, like the real Joy, this Joy manages to take her great ideas and market them...and make money from them. Too bad she didn't use this money and power to get restraining orders to keep everyone from her family out of her life. And, too bad it took so long and we needed to cringe constantly at the family until this breakthrough EVENTUALLY occurred. But even then, the family seems to do their best to make Joy's idea fall flat.

The bottom line is that it can be tough to sell a story where you don't like anyone. It can work...but it's an uphill battle...and here it just didn't work well for me. And, I can see why this Russell film didn't do as well in theaters as his other collaborations with Lawrence....making less in the States than it cost to make. As it is, it's watchable but a bit of a disappointment. Slow and not at all a joy to watch! It at least earns a 5 because there are some nice performances. The film MIGHT have worked better had the first half of the movie been reduced significantly and the final portion accentuated further.

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