26 February 2018

Joy


Joy 2015
  • Director: David O. Russell
  • Based on the story by Annie Mumulo
  • Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramírez, Bradley Cooper, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Dascha Polanco, Elizabeth Röhm, Jimmy Jean-Louis
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games 1-4, X-Men Days of Future Past, Winter’s Bone
    • Robert De Niro – Stardust, Extras, Flawless, Cop Land, Marvin’s Room, Heat, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Awakenings, Stanley and Iris, Brazil, New York New York, The Deerhunter, Taxi Driver, 1900, Hi Mom, probably others
    • Edgar Ramírez – The Girl on the Train
    • Bradley Cooper – He’s Just Not that Into You
    • Diane Ladd – 28 Days, Cold Lazarus, Citizen Ruth, Wild at Heart, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Chinatown, The Fugitive
    • Virginia Madsen – Prairie Home Companion, Sideways
    • Isabella Rossellini – Friends, Immortal Beloved, Wild at Heart
  •  Why? Jennifer Lawrence
  • Seen: 23 February 2018      

       ‘Inspired by stories of daring women.’ Well, that sounds promising. Joy’s grandmother Mimi (Ladd) narrates the story. As a child Joy (Lawrence) ‘rejoiced in making things.’ Her mother (Madsen) watches soap operas. Joy grows up and when we see her next she has been married, now divorced with two kids and a job with an airline that demotes her to the night shift. Her ex-husband Tony (Ramírez) lives in the basement. Her father (de Niro) – her parents are divorced – returns and must share the basement with Tony, not happily. They hate each other.
       If it sounds chaotic, that’s because it is. Joy has a terrible life and her mother is still watching the same soap opera. Joy feels like she’s in prison. She asks her childhood friend Jackie (Polanco) what happened to all their dreams.
       Flashbacks: her parents’ divorce, meeting Tony, falling in love, getting married, wedding party ruined by loud-mouth obnoxious father, babies. Shouting matches with Tony, divorce.
       Out of all this mess Joy invents a wonder mop.
       The first half of the film is crazy and fun. The second half bogs down a bit as it turns into business and Hollywood nasty-struggle-but-happy-ending.
       It’s as far from Hunger Games as you can get but Joy does have a bit of the same determination and toughness as Katniss.

3 ½ * of 5 (Hal gives it 4)


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