JOY (2015)

joy1Directed By: David O. Russell
Written By: David O. Russell & Annie Mumolo
Cinematography By: Linus Sandgren
Editor: Jay Cassidy, Sam Cross, Christopher Tellefsen & Alan Baumgarten 

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Robert DeNiro, Virigina Madsen, Elizabeth Rohm, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rosellini, Dascha Polanco, Susan Lucci, Donna Mills, Melissa Rivers, Drena DeNiro 

*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review*

Joy is the story of the title character, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.

Annie Mumolo’s original script featuring the story of the Miracle Mop was based upon a real person: Joy Mangano, an Italian-American inventor and entrepreneur known for inventions such as the self-wringing Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers. She is the President of Ingenious Designs, and appears regularly on US television shopping channel HSN. A graduate of Pace University, Mangano holds more than 100 patents for her inventions.

When David O. Russell came onto the project, he added many more supporting characters and interwove Mangano’s original biography with stories of other women daring to change their lives so much that only the basic plot outline still resembles Mangano’s story (from working mother to business woman). Therefore, despite earlier reports about the film, this is not a biographical film about Mangano. Furthermore, Russell even admitted he was in no hurry to meet Mangano in real-life during the filming process, because he wanted to make the movie his own way, only speaking to her on the phone. Also, Joy’s last name in the film is never given and movie Joy is not from Mangano’s native Smithtown, on the North Shore of Long Island, New York.

Joy’s ex-husband, Tony Miranne (portrayed by Édgar Ramírez), was a fellow business student and former classmate at Pace University, not a Venezuelan singer

At first the film overpowers you as it throws you right into the madness at the deep end. With confusion and frustration that is the main characters life. Strangely you never know when the film really begins. As you keep waiting for it to officially start or make it clearer where it is going.

The film begins with the action of introducing her father back into the household while she is doing her morning routine of trying to get to work on time and continuing mounting problems. Like her father moving back in. Problems with her mother. Taking her daughter to school. This plus subtle narration that makes it feel more like a realistic fairy tales. we are also introduced to her family and their relationship with each other as well as their history.

Just like a fairy tale this film is meant to show how a woman rises to power and success. It also works as an empowerment film that shows the life, skill, talent and responsibilities of a woman and how she used them to become a success and helped empower others through need and understanding.

When you watch it, it feels like a film. Though as it goes along it more and more feels like a presentation. As it seems to almost be presented In a harsh fairy tale fashion that feels distinctly like a soap opera. Melodramatic and all, but a very well done one. It doesn’t necessarily draw on hysterics and overblown emotions. It is an emotional story. Though manages to also feel like a tale of empowerment and how a woman became successful.

Overcoming of all drawbacks her own family who seem to unwittingly sabotage her. Not to mention all the other challenges presented standing in her way. A success story that is well done. Though strangely feels hollow as it is pretty to look at and impressively directed. Though constantly feels at arms length and feeling familiar yet presented in a original way.

The camera is always moving or seems to be along for the ride.

Then once successful we see the trouble and problems it leads to as she is still talked down to (reminds one of THE FIGHTER only not as violent physically as that family, but not manipulative as more judgemental and picky) though manages to find the humor and overwhelmingly positive. Despite it’s cold surroundings that remains quirky, realistic and presented in a grand scale. Though not epic.

The unending soundtrack pretty much scores each scene so you know which direction it is going. It also feels like a marathon film as it isn’t long but the film seems like the character to hardly take a break. The camera is forever moving and the story forever going forward.

Watching Joy fall and pick herself up. So that this is the ultimate pull yourself up by the boot straps story as she faces every challenge head on. Leaving the film to be an inspiration to the audience. The ultimate feel good film.

The film tries to seem chaotic but seems to glide smoothly no matter what. The camera crafts a world where when she is on stage at the home shopping network. As the camera seems to revolve yet stay in place. Showing her emotional complexity and those nerve wracking moments before showtime.

Somewhat have a problem wit the presentation of characters. We really only get to know Joy Though other then her, each of the actors seem to play characters a bit one note. We see and relate to them, but only in how they affect the form of the film or their relationships with her. Even though not their story at times the humanity is missing, even if she loves or forgives them. The film never gets time to distinguish themselves. As they come off as full lived in characters, but come off as caricatures.

Everyone in the cast is good, though of course Jennifer Lawrence gets to shine easily captivating when playing distraught, dramatic, comedic, despair and successful. She stays bright and motivated. We have seen this before from her so that this role is more of a reminder why the audience likes her and keeps coming back to see her in action.

Just as this films seems tailor made for Ms. Lawrence. As David O. Russell seems to keep using her as his muse. Always casting her and seeming to both challenge and intentionally write to her strengths. As this film seems like more of a gift to her. That offers many peaks, but comes off lite. Hopefully it doesn’t becomes like Peter Bogdanovich with Cybill Shepherd in the 70’s. Though they were in a relationship. She was good, but it became overpowering as he cast he in many films. That audiences rejected and critics felt she was miscast in. Luckily Jennifer Lawrence works in the role. Though it would be Interesting if they took a break from one another and then reunited. Though her Bradley Cooper and now Robert DeNiro seems part of his repetoire.

Bradley Cooper offers fine support. While i haven’t always been his biggest fan. Recently he has been impressing me and shaping into a fine actor. Here he has a smaller but pivotal role. He seems here more to offer a bit of star power and work as a charm for Director David O. Russell. Those his scene where he explains how the calls at the studio works for making sales. He describes it and seems to conduct the phones like his own personal symphony. It also is a bit disappointing as some scenes from the trailer that seemed important aren’t actually in the film.

It’s one woman’s story but could be many successful woman’s story and hopefully inspire more.

This film feels like the type of film that is like a theater presentation that you stand up and clap and sheer for after presented. Even if not your taste. Then just because they tried and the heart and vision is in the right place. Even if it feels more like a softball.

Though strangely the film never lives up to it’s title. as throughout though a film about success and what it takes, The obstacles that the lead faces. it still ends up having the film feel more melancholy in mood throughout

Grade: B

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s