MOVIE REVIEW: JOY – Jennifer Lawrence mops her way to success

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By: Roshni Kapur

David O Russell’s Joy is an inspiring movie of rags to riches and self-empowerment starring Jennifer Lawrence who builds a business empire and becomes a matriarch in her own right. A semi-fictional and biopic film, Joy is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), a woman who invented the Miracle Mop in the 1990s that became a retail success.

In the film’s first half, Joy, a single mother of two, constantly cleans up after her family messes up. For years, housework and chores wearies her, but now it just might be the golden ticket to success. It is evident that Joy carefully chooses the name of her mop; her life, let alone her kitchen floor, in desperate need of divine intervention.

Lawrence struggles to balance motherhood and work in a house overflowing with anxiety and chaos. She lives with her bickering divorced parents, and deadbeat ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez) who annexes her house’s basement. Joy’s mother (Virginia Madsen) is constantly glued to tacky soap operas and refuses to leave her room.

Her grandmother, Mimi (Diane Ladd) is the only one who recalls how talented and creative Joy was as a little girl and encourages her to chase her dreams and not live a life in mediocrity. Her overconfident half-sister (Elisabeth Rohm) perpetually tries to put her down and her father’s (Robert de Niro) new girlfriend, Trudy (Isabella Rossellini) becomes Joy’s main investor.

Betrayal, fraud, deceit and the loss of innocence run high in this emotional and melodramatic comedy. Frustrated a fiasco of having to mop up spilled wine and shattered glass that cuts into her hand on a boat belonging to Trudy (Isabella Rossellini), Joy is inspired to invent a new mop, and effectively reinvent herself as a success.

Joy’s creative imagination fused with resilience helps her overcome the struggles of an entrepreneurial underdog who lacks business acumen and pass through a storm at every possible stage. Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper) is a TV executive at the QVC shopping channel who is impressed by Lawrence’s novice creativity at her product. Lawrence’s fateful sales pitch at the QVC home shopping channel comes around despite clutching in front of the cameras. The pitch for her self-wringing mop reaches a flashpoint and turns her into a millionaire.

Lawrence hasn’t won an Oscar for her previous movies but there are guesses that she might win for her role in Joy. Joy revisits the dysfunctional family in Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. Joy is Lawrence’s third collaboration in Russell’s movies, who is better known for depicting strong female characters. Lawrence and Russell, one of the prominent alliances in Hollywood may be the true keepers of its flame.

Directed by David O Russell

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert de Niro, Bradley Cooper, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini
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