Review: Joy

Being the third installment in what is the Lawrence-Cooper-O. Russell series, expectations were reasonably high; being the same group that brought us the wonderful Silver Linings Playbook (and the disappointing American Hustle), especially since Robert De Niro was back on the team. This a small view into a period of the life of Joy Mangano, American inventor and entrepreneur, during the time in which she was determined to bring  her creation of the Miracle Mop into the homes of the public. A woman who despite being told she couldn’t do it, was determined to prove people wrong, all while holding together her family single handed.After said disappointment at the underwhelming American Hustle, I was ready to fully endorse Joy and expected a brilliant, energetic, strong willed and unrelenting production; but that’s not quite what we get. The team back together seemed like it would be an instant key to success, but long story short, it wasn’t, and I will tell you why. I have no doubts that the real Joy is undeniably inspiring but it doesn’t come across that way in the film; Jennifer Lawrence feels slightly off her game, though she has moments of greatness, a lot of it seems more detached and emotionless. The same practically goes De Niro and Cooper, however the supporting cast are fantastic: Édgar Ramírez, Isabella Rossellini, Dascha Polanco, Elisabeth Röhm and Virginia Madsen.

Though the film is aesthetically pleasing and the story of being repeatedly denied until you finally succeed is universally enjoyed, it appears rather empty and staged, rather than genuine. There is a definitive lack of feeling for large portions or the film so despite being pleasant it’s not exactly invigorating. It also feels slightly long at just over 2 hours, and that perhaps slight more in editing would have made the story feel like it progresses more naturally and at a better pace. The film seems to be another hit and miss, without the top game of the strong Lawrence that we’ve seen in the past it just doesn’t quite go the distance; it reappears sporadically throughout the film but it isn’t quite enough.

The trend of David O. Russell films is in a downward spiral and at this point it’s highly likely that Silver Linings was a fluke and due to the fact that it was based on a decent book with great characters; he has descended into simply making adequate films. As a whole it is not a terrible film, but this should have been one to get you raring to go, and rallying behind Joy when it feels more like a journey to get to a satisfying ending. I had been so looking forward to this film, and like I’ve said wanting to get behind it and sing it’s praises like there’s no tomorrow and yet I find myself solely let down by it.

Verdict: 5.5/10

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