Movie Review – ‘Joy’

“Rather than let Lawrence’s idea hamster shine early, viewers are left with a dull start that takes the luster off of a successful ending.”

– Patrick King, REEL BRIEF


David O. Russell directs and co-writes this big-screen reunion of his hand-picked “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012) and “American Hustle” (2013) superstars Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro and Bradley Cooper. All together once again on set, Russell’s “Joy” chronicles the 1990 discovery of the “Miracle Mop” by hardworking mother of three, Joy Mangano (played by Lawrence), from Long Island. A holder of over 100 patents today, Mangano’s true American Dream story is one that inspires moviegoers to follow their passions and clever ideas.

This week’s Golden Globe winner for best actress in a motion picture musical or comedy, Lawrence’s portrayal of this strong entrepreneur is not only exceptional, but extremely believable. No one can stop this determined young woman who refuses to settle or let anything get in her way to success. The extended family dynamics is rooted in frustration, bitter feelings and turmoil between Lawrence’s parents and Joy’s constant attempt to make ends meet financially.


Director Russell is 0-for-5 for taking home an Academy Award…and most likely will keep this streak alive with “Joy”. Despite a stellar cast from top to bottom and a rags-to-riches narrative, Russell’s off-beat presentation and sluggish start to the movie tarnishes an otherwise enjoyable plot and ending. Haphazardly, Russell injects Joy’s mother too far into the film’s design—her penchant for watching soap operas in bed only results in overshadowing and stalling our understanding of Joy’s rise to the top in her business world.

The slow start to “Joy”, with needless emphasis on other characters, creates a feeling of fast-forwarding through the formidable “Miracle Mop” years. Lawrence’s interaction with a home shopping TV network executive (Bradley Cooper) provide the film’s best moments. Seeing the saleswoman Joy Mangano continue to find strength and keep pushing her novel idea, despite personal and financial setbacks, is short-lived in “Joy” but still inspirational to viewers.Joy 2

It’s a shame that too much time and energy was wasted getting the miraculous mop launched in “Joy”. Rather than let Lawrence’s idea hamster shine early, viewers are left with a dull start that takes the luster off of a successful ending. A missed opportunity to showcase where a young, determined mother from 1990 is today. I’ll give you a hint, Joy Mangano is not on a soap opera.

Grade: B

“Joy” is rated PG-13 for strong language.  Its running time is 2 hours.

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office".   - Judy O.

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