David O' Russell's Joy is a semi biographical picture of Joy Mangano, a mother of two who created her own business and became a self made millionaire.
Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence stars as Joy, a struggling mother who's ex husband and father live in her basement, her own mother resides in her room watching TV all day and the only person around her who seems to make any sense is her grandmother.
This is the third pairing of O' Russell and Lawrence after Silver Linings Playbook for which she won her Oscar and American Hustle for which she was nominated.
David O' Russell has been on a roll these past few years with The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle all being serious Oscar contenders, but his latest film falls short and whilst it's still a fine film with a great lead performance and entertaining for the most part, a lot of it didn't really work.
My main issue with the film are the characters. Other than Joy, I found myself not caring about any of the supporting characters, mainly because they're all screw ups and not in the fun, charming kind of way. Her father played by Robert De Niro is funny, but he's a destructive asshole. Her mother is a hermit who lives her life through a soap opera on Television and her ex husband is honestly just quite annoying, he has too much faith in his singing career that he won't go out and get a proper job to supply for his family. And Bradley Cooper plays the man who gives Joy her big break, he puts her on QVC to sell her Miracle Mop which becomes a much needed household item but he's not in the film enough for me to gauge any amount of empathy for the character.
Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle were dramatic but they were always fun, the scripts were witty and full of energy but Joy is quite dower, I found myself leaving the movie feeling drained of ironically....all of my joy.
Jennifer Lawrence is great as always, it's not one of her better performances but for a young actress with such a stack of excellent performances behind her already, that's not a criticism. She was the only character I found myself caring for because she's the underdog and who doesn't love an underdog story?
Joy seems like a different mash of several different stories. At first it's about a creative woman who's lost her creative spark due to her entire family relying on her, and then it's about the Miracle Mop and QVC and then towards the end, she hits rock bottom, cuts her hair and two scenes later she's highly successful again. All of it didn't really flow well together, there felt like a disconnect between these three acts of the film. The film certainly picks up a bit when she meets Bradley Cooper and really kick starts her business but by that time the rest of the film has taken it's toll. It's not a very well paced film, it's around 2 hours long but it felt rather slow.
Let me re-iterate once again that Joy isn't a bad film, it's fine, it's not what I've come to expect from David O' Russell but every director has a bad day and hopefully Joy is this for the director. I can't recommend rushing out to see it, I can't imagine it will be a heavy Oscar contender, at least I hope not, so this is one you can probably skip.
What did you think of Joy? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97