Joy review: “Incredibly emotional and candid”

By December 26, 2015

Film, TV & Tech. Bradford.

Jennifer Laurence in 'Joy', courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Joy’, courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Jennifer Lawrence carries the constantly engaging narrative that relates the fortunes and misfortunes of real-life story entrepeneur Joy Mangano. We witness her as an incredibly lucid dreamer and schemer from childhood and though this sees Joy’s rags to riches rise in status, this is no Cinderella. But Joy does have to compete with a wicked-at-times stepmother Trudy (Isabella Rossellini) who meets her father Rudy (Robert de Niro) through a dating agency.

The rest of the Italian-American family are equally dysfunctional and the family home is a hotbed of hysteria and clearly claustrophobic too. The fact that Joy has to mix family with finance is always going to be problematic but in spite of being an underdog in the business world she makes it through with her sense of honesty intact. It is her dogged determination to succeed in the way promised by the American Dream that drives her endeavours.

joy-3-xlargeThe unlikely real subject of the film is the invention of the Miracle Mop that wrings itself and has a head that can be taken off and laundered. Joy’s helper to make this a winner is Neil Weller (Bradley Coope) who is the head of QVC network and believes in her vision. This is no fast-lane fairy tale and she does indeed encounter several obstacles on the way and the film keeps us guessing until the end credits to see how her life ends up.

Auteur David O. Russell’s cinematography is sublime in this his third film with Lawrence, following Silver Linings Playboat and American Hustle. The partnership really pulls out all the stops to make this an incredibly emotional and candid study with great depth of character displayed through a powerful performance. And it actually has a Yuletide moment near the ending that may bring a grin if you have just enjoyed the happy holidays.

Joy runs from 1 to 14 January 2016, National Mediua Museum, Bradford; 1 to 7 January 2016, Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds; and 1 to 7 January 2016, Everyman Cinema, Leeds.