Take a Drink: every time Joy’s father says she should give up.
Take a Drink: every time they cut to a soap opera
Do a Shot: for Bradley Coopers’ horrendous suit
Do a Shot: every time Joy has a setback.
Finish your Drink: if your family is just as dysfunctional as Joy’s
By: Movie Snurb (Three Beers) –
Joy is a biopic about Joy Mangano; an inventor, entrepreneur, and businesswoman. She is probably best known for her invention of the Miracle Mop. The film begins with Joy in her early 30’s with two kids, divorced, her parents living with her, and her ex-husband living in her basement. After a chance outing on a boat where Joy spills some wine and cuts her hands with glass while trying to wring out the mop she’s using, she gets the idea for the Miracle Mop and we go on the journey with Joy from prototype drawings with crayon all the way to her selling the Mop on QVC.
David O. Russell does a lot of great things; one of them is writing great characters. I know American Hustle and Joy were based on true events, but scripts can always fall flat, making the characters boring and not memorable. However, David has a knack for writing vibrant and exciting characters, even ones that should be mundane, such as Joy’s parents. There is nothing overly exciting about these two people, but Russell’s writing mixed with the excellent acting bring the characters off the page and to life.
Another aspect of Russell’s writing is his capability to write strong, not overly sexualized female characters. Even in this day and age of progressiveness a strong female character is hard to find, especially one that isn’t in skintight leather pants or a bikini. However, Russell seems to be able to write great female characters who know they don’t have to show some skin to get somewhere in life and which young women can look up to.
The last thing I really liked about Joy was the acting. Of course a David O. Russell film would have a great cast. It’s like a Tarantino film; I expect to get a great cast giving 150%, and they didn’t disappoint in this film. Every actor and actress, big role and small, gives a great performance, but of course Jennifer Lawrence shines and carries this film on her shoulders with ease. The actor I hope gets some recognition from this film and begins getting more serious roles was Edgar Ramirez. His character of Joy’s ex-husband would’ve been so easy to play as a one-dimensional douchebag, but he comes out likable and gives a wonderful performance. However, come awards season Lawrence will more than likely be the only one nominated for this film.
Though I did enjoy the film, I had a couple issues with Joy. I feel like when the credits rolled I was still missing something. We follow Joy though her struggles and then comes her biggest hump. Without giving away too many details, just when you think Joy is finally though all the shit and it’s going to be a happy ending she faces a patent infringement case. Then in one night she figures out how to resolve her patent problem and then we skip forward 30 years and now it’s a happy ending. I feel like they wrapped up the film too quickly. I really feel like an extra ten minutes would’ve been beneficial and the audience wouldn’t be leaving with a stomach that’s half full.
I don’t see a new lesson Russell is trying to tell us. Of course there’s the “Never give up on your dreams” and “A woman doesn’t always need a prince charming to save them.” Which is all well and good, especially for younger girls, but if I wanted to teach my future daughter those lessons I’d show them Invincible and Frozen. I just wish he’d tried to tell us something new.
David O. Russell has given us two great films recently; unfortunately Joy doesn’t live up to the previous two. You’ll enjoy the ride, but when it’s over you still won’t feel fully satisfied. It’s like eating Chinese; yeah, it was good, but when I’m done I’m still hungry.