Jennifer Lawrence, our home girl from Louisville, apparently can do no wrong. She is being given one interesting role after another, and not coincidentally she is on a roll. The girl can flat act. The movie ‘Joy’ is in fact a true story about one Joy Mangano who invented the Miracle Mop among other things. The story however is one of overcoming incredible adversity mostly caused by her hugely dysfunctional family. Granted that no family is perfect, and granted that there are many forms of dysfunctionality when it comes to family, but the Mangano family is over the top. David O.Russell does a fine job of portraying what Joy was up against, and letting her story percolate slowly. The story is told basically from the point of view of the one really supportive family member, Joy’s Grandmother who believed in her. The story is set in upstate N.Y.and basically we see the crucial decade of the 80s when Joy goes from being a divorced woman with two small children to beginning to be a very successful business woman. It is a story of toughness, perseverance, overcoming odds, and all in the male dominated world of business. Joy goes from being naive and idealistic to being a savvy business woman.
The supporting performances by Robert De Niro and Brad Cooper are excellent, and Diane Ladd and Virginia Madsen are worth watching as well. The problem for this movie is that apart from Joy, and perhaps her Granny, there are not many likable characters in this story. For a movie to really attract a lot of attention and favorable word of mouth, there usually needs to be persons one enjoys watching and finds admirable in some way. The movie is two hours long, and it does not involve violence, or sex scenes, or a bunch of bad language. It is also not a family film, unless you need to take your family to see how not to be a good high functioning family. If you are a fan of the Home Shopping Network or QVC this is the movie for you, and not incidentally, Joy Mangano has just reappeared selling her mop once more on HSN some 20 years after her first appearance on what was then a new network. Not bad for a 59 year old inventor.