Joy is a 36 year old unemployed woman with two children; her ex-husband lives in her basement; her mother watches soap operas day and night; and her father who moves back in to share the basement with his son-in-law. Dreaming to have a more successful life, Joy throws herself into the family business, which surprisingly becomes quite successful and turns into a business dynasty. And that would not have happened if Joy would not have invented a super mop….
The film begins with a soap opera, set in black-and-white, where Danica (Susan Lucci) declares her intention to turn her weakness into strength. This is when the voice of a woman, who introduces herself as Joy’s grandma begins to tell the story of her granddaughter, who according to the narrated voice, always rejoices making a new thing. And that indeed will turn into something big, that will allow a young woman to become a matriarch in her own right. But before she earns that success, money, and power, she needs to learn to overcome the storm that is about to hit her already unstable and full of negativity life.
Unfortunately, despite having a strong plot, and even stronger character behind this story, which is real Joy Mangano, David O. Russell’s film begins slow without being able to develop its proper pace. The feeling that it may take you nowhere does not go anywhere until you pass halfway through, when the events occuring in the film becomes more approachable. The story itself, no doubt, is emotionally charged. However, all those emotions in Joy looks more like forced, like in an unsuccessfully staged play where actors do their best to deliver the part that was not written in screenplay.
Robert De Niro as Rudy, Virginia Madsen as Joy’s Mother, Isabella Rossellini as Trudy is an unfortunate part of the film, who you will find as an absolute miscast. Jennifer Lawrence, who once again portrays a much older woman is not believable, which is pity for an actor with her abilities and opportunities. O. Russell’s film delivers a limited amount of emotions which should have been the main power of the film, where an actor like Lawrence would have nailed it without problems. Again, Joy is not a terrible film, however, it’s not good either, which leaves more the feelings of disappointment rather than joy. But in the end, you as the viewer must decide to agree or disagree with me. After all, watching it will never hurt, as long as you receive your precise answer. After all, joy is joy. And there is nothing we can do about it. And do we?