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Joy: Russel, Lawrence, De Niro & Cooper Back Together for Quirky Drama

  • Bradley CooperJennifer Lawrence...
  • ComedyDrama
  • David O. Russell
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Joy: Russel, Lawrence, De Niro & Cooper Back Together for Quirky Drama

Even though David O. Russell’s latest project is not completely without its faults and flaws, Joy ­– co-scripted by O. Russell and Annie Mumolo – offers just enough quirkiness and off-beat charm to make this occasionally confusing, yet inspiring, story about hope, dreams and a magic mop.

As a young girl, Joy Mangano (Lawrence) enjoyed spending her days inventing and creating various versions of common household items. However, as an adult, her life as a divorced mother of two hasn’t really given her the freedom to explore her creativity, having put her dreams on hold so that she can take care of her dysfunctional family.

She now spends her days looking after her soap-opera-obsessed mom, Terry (Madsen), her dad, Rudy (De Niro) – an emotionally unsteady and a severely impatient man who runs a local auto-shop – and her ex-husband, Tony (Ramirez), who, despite their divorce from two years prior, is still living in her basement. Things soon take a change when she is unexpectedly inspired to design and put together a more effective type of cleaning mop, turning to Rudy’s girlfriend, Trudy (Rossellini), for the much-needed financial support. Hitting numerous embarrassments and setbacks, Joy’s determination eventually leads her to Neil Walker (Cooper); a savvy executive working for a television shopping network, who is sold on the idea of selling her invention to the masses.

Joy brings together Russel, Lawrence, De Niro and Cooper together again after the unexpected success of 2012 surprise hit, Silver Linings Playbook, and is painted in a similarly raw quirkiness. However, many viewers will find details of the plot a little too unconventional or even perhaps downright strange for their liking and, sure, the setup is a little out there and the pacing seems a bit off, but there are still plenty of qualities to be found. Things begin with a shaky start and getting connected – and emotionally invested – to the storyline does prove a little challenging; however, once the story finds its footing and once the rise of the Miracle Mop takes centre-stage, this is where the story comes alive.

Anchored by yet another beautifully committed and natural performance by Jennifer Lawrence, who has managed to embrace and capture her character’s strength, determination and vulnerability to a great effect, it’s pretty safe to say that she is the glue that keeps it all together and without here there, it would be awfully difficult to get swept up in the Miracle Mop’s magic and madness. 

Like This? Try

Silver Linings Playbook (2012), American Hustle (2013), Serena (2014)

360 Tip

Jennifer Lawrence is soon to appear in Steven Spielberg’s war-drama, It’s What I Do, which follows wartime photographer, Lynsey Addario, who was one of the journalists held captive by the Libyan Army back in 2011. 

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