“JOY is the wild true story of Joy Mangano and her Italian-American family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty by inventing the Miracle Mop and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces. Jennifer Lawrence stars, with Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, and Virginia Madsen. Like David O. Russell’s previous films, Joy defies genre to tell a story of family, loyalty, and love.” – IMDb
Okay, this is more like a love letter to Jennifer Lawrence than a movie review, so if you don’t like her (what’s wrong with you?), you might as well stop reading. 😀 With last week’s Golden Globes, the award season 2016 officially began for me. I will talk about the award season more on Sunday. I’m glad that I chose “Joy” (2015) to kick of my award season movie marathon.
I don’t have many favorite directors, cos not many are capable of pushing out good movies consistently without losing their signature. Tarantino for example. Extremely recognizable style, undeniably quality with every movie he made, Tarantino is definitely one of my favorite director. David O. Russell, the director of Joy, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, seemed to have found his muse, making ridiculously good movies like a machine. Like Uma Thurman is to Tarantino, Jennifer Lawrence and Russell quickly became a powerful pair, both getting each other nominations and wins for best actress and best movie. Although not as ostentatious as Tarantino’s style, Russell seems to be capable of making ordinary stories of ordinary people extraordinarily magical.
“Joy” is about the life story of Joy Mangano, a inventor and businesswoman, who launched her career by inventing the self-wringing Miracle Mop. Joy’s real story is miraculous in itself, but the movie is the dramatized version. Oh all that drama. It has become Russell’s signature to torture his characters to the extreme, and “Joy” is a very good example. For a few times while I was watching the movie, I so wanted to shout in the movie theater so many times that ‘give that girl a fucking break’. Trial after trial, disappointment after disappointment, can someone actually be that tough as not to break under all that immense amount of pressure and burden? It’s a little bit surreal. Also, I might be biased cos I adore Jennifer Lawrence, and seeing the character she portrays being kicked so many times while down just makes me angry. For me, a good movie is a movie that makes me feel something, whether it’s joy, sadness, fear, anger or happiness. “Joy” can be frustrating to watch, but it made me feel so much.
One of the biggest reasons I like “Joy” despite of its flaws is obviously the cast. JLaw is, as per usual, phenomenal. Her performances almost always give me chills because she’s so freaking good. I remember seeing her the first time watching “Winter’s Bone” and I was like ‘who is that girl’. She didn’t seem like a brand new actress having the leading lady role the first time, despite her very obvious young age, she seemed like a veteran, her acting flawless even. Maybe I shouldn’t say the word acting. Whenever JLaw is on screen, you won’t see an actress acting, you see a real person going on with her life unaware of the camera. Her ability to become the character she’s portraying is unreal. I will be surprised if she doesn’t get nominated again this year for best actress, that would be her fourth Oscar nod. I won’t be surprised if she takes home the golden statue again this year. Many have said that JLaw is the next Meryl Streep. I disagree. Not that JLaw won’t beat Meryl’s record for the most Oscar nominations, she absolutely will in time. She will also actually win Oscars more than Meryl, at the same time killing it in blockbusters like she did as Katniss Everdeen and Mystique from X-Men.
The rest of the cast is obviously amazing too. De Niro is simply delightful to witness, especially when he’s going at it with Joy’s mother, portrayed by the stunning Virginia Madsen. I don’t much care about Bradley Cooper, but Cooper, JLaw and Russell seem to come in a package deal these days. But I’m glad they found someone else to play Joy’s ex-husband Tony, played by the charming Édgar Ramírez. Quoting Joy’s grandma Mimi (beautifully played by Diane Ladd), you can hardly find a better pair of ex-husband and wife than Tony and Joy. I wouldn’t mind having an ex like Tony. Their friendship is heart-warming. David O. Russell’s movies are all about the characters, the cast, the chemistry between the cast. And for that only, “Joy” was truly a joy to watch.
My IMDb rating: 7 out of 10 stars