FILM REVIEW: Joy

Joy, is a sort of rags-to-riches tale. A film loosely based upon true events, following the rise, fall and rise again of Joy Mangano.
Life is all a bit of a grind for Joy, and not without good reason.
A well-meaning but tactless father (Robert De Niro), a jealous sister, an overly-needy, bed-bound, reclusive mother and an ex-husband still on the scene, and you simply couldn’t ask for a more dysfunctional family unit, all of whom are, for one reason or another, living with Joy in her own house.
Worse still, each is, to some extent at least, dependant upon Joy and the stability and know-how that she provides and that they crave in their own topsy-turvy, flawed existences.
There is however only so much of their collective energy-sapping presence that Joy can bear, and something has to give.
Joy, a natural born dreamer, has a plan to alleviate this daily cycle of family encumbrance and relentless drudgery – ‘The Miracle Mop’ – a unique floor cleaning implement that she’s invented and which she believes can revolutionise America’s floor-cleaning habits.
Fortunately, through a contact of her lingering ex-husband (Neil Walker played by Bradley Cooper), Joy is presented a big opportunity to launch her product through the QVC shopping channel and, through her single-minded determination and never-say-die attitude, not to mention a generous ‘all sorts of strings attached’ financial package courtesy of her father’s new romantic interest, Trudy (Isabella Rossellini), things start to take shape for Ms Mangano.
Things are, however, never that straight forward in the cut-throat, often conniving world of business.
Amidst this story of fleeting ups and substantial downs, an excellent, stella ensemble cast provide what is essentially a fairly straight forward tale with both weight and quality in abundance, but it’s the film’s lead that really stands out.
Jennifer Lawrence positively sparkles as the unlikely heroine, producing a wonderfully memorable performance and building a character that is as engaging as she is loveable.
One cannot help but cheering her on for her immense inner strength and sheer bloody-mindedness through myriad knock backs and ‘oh-so-near’ moments, all of which she experiences largely on her own, bar the encouragement of her best friend, the surprising reliability and friendship of her ex-husband, but most importantly Mimi (a strong if fleeting performance from Diane Ladd), her grandmother and ‘biggest fan.’
On a mildly negative note, the latter stages do feel a tad rushed and a bit of an after thought if we’re being fair, bit it’s certainly not enough to detract from what is a really enjoyable piece of film making.
Joy is a terrifically entertaining film that should resonate with anyone that’s ever dared to dream only to experience the seemingly never-ending negativity of countless rejections. It’s a film about having the self-belief that we can go out there and make something of our lives in spite of the odds, even when all of those around us, with all the best intentions, are insisting otherwise.
If Joy Mangano can make it, then so can we all.
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