Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Édgar Ramírez in Joy. (20th Century Fox)
Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Édgar Ramírez in Joy. (20th Century Fox)

What it's about:

In this wild story of a family, spanning four generations, Joy grows up to found a business dynasty and takes her place as a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence, and the scars of love pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise, while facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and vice-versa, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she weathers. A story of family, loyalty, and love.

What we thought:

David O Russell, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper team up for their third collaboration.

Joy, loosely based on the life of inventor and entrepreneur, Joy Mangano has the makings of a great inspirational movie but sadly falls into soapie like territory.

Through the narration of her grandmother (Diane Ladd) we come to know Joy’s story. We first meet Joy as a child, a dreamer who had the ability to create things. Fast forward and we see older Joy (Jennifer Lawrence), disillusioned with life taking care of her two kids, her soapie addicted mom (Virginia Madsen), her ailing grandmother and her ex-husband (Édgar Ramírez) who lives in her basement. And if that isn’t enough her father (Robert De Niro) moves in after a break up with his longtime girlfriend. Oh and there’s also her half sister (Elisabeth Röhm) who she has a strained relationship with. 

When it comes to dysfunctional this family is right there at the top of the list. 

An accident during an outing on her father’s new girlfriend’s (Isabella Rossellini) yacht leads Joy to inviting a self-wringing, miracle mop.

With the plot set out what follows is a chronicle of Joy’s painstakingly hard work to making her business a success, while dealing with setbacks, mounting family issues and debt. She finds some relief when she meets a TV shopping channel exec (Bradley Cooper) who gives her a chance to sell her product. 

One of the main issues that I have with the film is that it lacks consistency there are some brilliant scenes that the actors excel in but others that just fall flat. For a semi-biographical it lacks plot and character development. The story is all over the place and moves swiftly between past, present and future.

Jennifer Lawrence does her best to make Joy relatable as the best parts of the film is when the character takes matters into her own hand and fights. 

Yes, the underdog story has been told so many times but that’s what gets audiences going to see a rags to riches tale, it inspires that fighting spirit in all of us. This film however, feels like it is confused about whether it is a biopic or a dysfunctional family dramedy? 

Despite the A-list cast and a great story to tell the plot fails, making this film a missed opportunity and a forgettable movie.

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