Review: Joy

Posted in Reviews, Top Stories by - December 24, 2015
Review: Joy

David O. Russell, does it again and creates a spectacular film with the help of his choice cast.

We’ve seen this recipe before from Director David O. Russell: take on a project with characters that perfectly fit his desired cast’s strengths, and out comes a brilliant film everyone relishes. In “Joy”, we follow Joy Mangano, an inventor who has always been talented but never surrounded with a support system allowing her to flourish. We watch her struggle, fall, fall even harder, rise a bit, fall again, and finally rise to a level no one could imagine. Part of what makes this movie wonderful is that it’s based on true events. Russell did a masterful job sticking sincere to the story and allowing the cast to depict the characters as accurately as possible, no matter how unflattering that may be. With Hollywood we never expect for movies based on a true story to contain much truth, but after fact checking I’m pleased to say there was minimal embellishment. This screenplay is written by Russell himself with the help of Annie Mumolo, who’s work on “Bridesmaids” and “This is 40” should have been a forewarning that there would be some comedic effect in this script, which there was. The script is well adapted and flows nicely, dynamically nailing the real life characters personality and requiring us to be invested in the success of Joy herself. I must say the intro was a bit troubling, and I found this aspect of the film to be distracting at best, although I will admit it’s necessary to a theme found throughout the film.

Joy stars Jennifer Lawrence as the lead character, Joy Mangano, a role she proved to be well equipped to play. The struggle I encounter when it comes to Lawrence is that I adore all of her roles, and her potential is bountiful, however we’ve yet to see her surge to great heights and shock the world with a role outside of her comfort zone. Her performances in “Hunger Games” and “Silver Linings Playbook” are astounding, yet all share the theme of a strong independent woman. I would merely enjoy seeing Lawrence to prove her stature in Hollywood and show a bit of diversity. Supporting roles by Bradley Cooper as QVC head Neil Walker and Robert De Niro as Joy’s disgustingly unsupportive father, Rudy, allow Lawrence to truly rise in this narrative and show fortitude in her role. I’d compare some of the other roles in Joy to salt: while they may go unnoticed, they may indeed be the ingredient that makes this film taste perfect.

Linus Sandgren’s cinematography is more than sufficient, with the lighting and framing as well done as one can ask for, however certainly nothing awe inspiring. The pure gem if you will of the film is the score. While this score certainly won’t make a run for the Oscar, with titles like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Hateful Eight” vying for the award, I feel this is what brought the film from good to great. David Campbell and West Dylan Thordson devoutly provided us a score that captured the essence of the film, and immersed us in the tone and mood of the narrative. Combine these elements with the aforementioned technical precision and creative brilliance, and we have yet again another passionate film by Russell.

My main, and valid I might add, concern is that this medley will run its course. While for the present time we all admire to see this ground of immensely talented individually collaborate on powerful ideas, we also crave change, and creativity. Lawrence has said she will never stop working with Director Russell, and that may be a wonderful thing for movie enthusiasts across the world, however I thirst for more. I lust after the idea that Russell and cast can come together and legitimately blow us away with their acting range. I genuinely hope to see that from Russel, sadly I feel that day will never come. In the end “Joy” is a impactful narrative, with a story both authentic and inspiring, and you absolutely must go see it.

Official Trailer:

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