Joel’s review of Joy (2015)

As part of a double feature, Namita decided to have lunch, and watch two films back to back at the theater — first Joy (2015), then The Force Awakens with the kids. In one afternoon! We’ve never done that before. For a 1:10 PM showing on the last Wednesday of the year, the theater was surprisingly packed.

Joy is the not-quite-biopic, inspired by true events, story about a woman named Joy. She’s a smart, talented, put-upon, divorced mother of two, living in Long Island. She was the valedictorian of her high school class, and had a lot of promise. Life, however, went in a different direction for her, and she hasn’t lived up to anyone’s expectations. Not for lack of trying, but it’s like her bad luck or something. Anyway, she gets an idea that might turn around her entire life — a revolutionary new mop.  She has to then try to produce, market, and sell this mop, and thus change her life. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as Joy, and there’s a large and talented cast in David O. Russell’s latest film.

I thought the film was okay. Yes, it’s a talented cast, but it seemed like the tone of the film veered over the entire 124 minutes.

  1. The entire first act seems like this dysfunctional family comedy. The supporting cast circling poor Joy acts nutty, and is seemingly dragging her down. You’ve got the mother (Virginia Madsen) spending her days watching General Hospital. Her father (Robert De Niro) moving back home and living in the basement with Joy’s unemployed ex-husband. She’s raising 1.5 kids (you see the daughter, but you barely ever see the son.) She’s got issues keeping her job at Eastern Airlines, trying to keep afloat financially, and managing the crazy family.
  2. The second act is all about Joy trying to develop and finance her mop.
  3. The final act is about Joy trying to protect her invention, and attempting to sell it on QVC.

On paper, you would think this would work, but it didn’t work for me. The tone of the story kept morphing and threw me off. Sometime during the third act, and after the 90 minute mark, I was waiting for the film to end.

Joy (2015)

Joy (2015)

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