Let’s get one thing straight right away.
Joy is not so much a happy movie at its core.
Oh, the mostly-taken-from-the-life of entrepreneur Joy Mangano story directed and co-written by David O. Russell (with the help of Bridesmaids writer Amy Mumolo) indeed follows the journey of the harried woman as struggles to take her idea for the Miracle Mop from crayon drawings made in her daughter’s twice-mortgaged bedroom to the nascent screen of QVC. And beyond, to helm a multimillion dollar company.
And all that means in terms of power and change in social status.
Jennifer Lawrence, my star for our times, again turns in a wicked great performance as the woman who must overcome so much to make this happen. She’s paired with a few stars with which Russell has sent her out with before, including Robert DeNiro her father and Bradley Cooper as a QVC executive.
DeNiro is fine as a dad who on the outside pretends to be looking out for his Joy’s interests but at his center really only cares about himself and the latest in his string of girlfriends, a rich widow played to the eccentric and snobbish hilt by Isabella Rossellini. And Cooper is steady as the hand that’s curious but needs to be won over by guile and performance.
Virginia Madsen as her flighty mother and Elisabeth Rohm as an evil half-sister are always working against her. Edgar Ramirez as her divorced husband and Dascha Polanco as her best friend are always on her side. Diane Ladd plays her grandmother, the sole blood family member save for her two young children who truly believes in her creative mind. The movie is moved along by Grandma’s narrative, a curious and sometimes plodding technique.
Through it all, Joy’s family is one evil, hot mess.
And the business world is tougher than she’d ever imagine.
Lawrence is a marvel as she plays the woman who fights through all of that to find success and a certain level of revenge and, from the looks on her face, great satisfaction.
One thing I saw in far too short of supply in her range of emotions as my dear wife Karen and I watched in a full Regal Cinemas theater for a Christmas Day matinée was joy, with a little ‘j.’
If I ever got through a lifelong mess with success like grandma was describing at the very end, I’d be doing the happy dance.
Do you own a Miracle Mop, and if so, is it the best mop you’ve ever used? Have you ever bought anything on QVC, and if so, what was it and were you satisfied with the experience? Do you stop and watch shopping channels on TV just because you can?