Children are always told by their peers that their meant for more in life and that they will give the world something amazing. The message is very “kumbaya” and vague, if not well meaning. The problem is that the adults that tell children this often don’t see other things getting in the way; money, health, or simply the people around them that hold back on their supposed “big ideas”. Another thing that people fail to notice is that it doesn’t just take ambition to make it big, but it requires an inclination for the gambles involved; something that not everyone is blessed with.
Now for those that are willing to take the risk, the next step is finding the right people to receive help from. In this day in age, there are a lot of resources one can go to in order make their dreams come true. Investors are an easy start from the crowd funding sites of Kickstarter and Indigogo to a popular reality show like Shark Tank. The only issue now is that since the idea of self-doing most things from self-publishing and self-marketing has become popular, it’s too easy to get lost in a sea of other good ideas. One young woman tries to get her great idea noticed in Joy.
The idea behind this movie is that it’s sort of a bio story on Joy Mangano, the inventor whose products have been featured on QVC and Home Shopping Network, but the movie makes it clear that this is a fictional Joy.
Anyway, Joy (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is a divorced mother of two who’s already working hard as a booking agent for an airline while living in a house that’s also occupied by her soap opera obsessed mother Terri (played by Virginia Madsen), supporting grandmother MiMi (played by Diane Ladd), and her ex-husband Tony (played by Édgar Ramírez). If that’s not enough, her divorced parents Terri and Rudy (played by Robert De Niro) are always fighting and her half sister Peggy (played by Elisabeth Röhm) is always putting down like a bully.
It’s shown early that Joy loves making things since she was a girl. It’s during childhood where her MiMi kept telling her that she will be strong and be successful. One day, Joy starts developing an idea for a mop that self-wrings and is washer friendly. Calling it the Miracle Mop, she takes it to QVC where executive Neil Walker (played by Bradley Cooper) gives her the chance to go on TV and try to sell this thing.
Joy seems to have an interesting story in there and even a good set of actors to pull this off, so where could they go wrong? The direction
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) is our director with who’ve I’ve always seen as…overrated and Joy seems to be the most misguided so far. While I know that biographies have to take creative liberties in some spots, by only using the basis of the Miracle Mop woman and combining the ideas of several strong women, we get a main character whose only personality is “strong independent women”.
What’s strange is that the film makes creative and narrative errors. The formula is practically the same as a sports movie that remains predictable, especially when they keep hammering in that Joy WILL be a strong person.
If I do have anything nice to say, the film still looks good and the actors are well casted in these parts. But another trait of David O. Russell is dysfunctional families that are so horrible as humans, that they seem nearly cartoon-like.
I’ll give this two and a half Miracle Mops out of five. Joy never comes of as a genuine story about a strong woman, but rather an empty shell with the director telling the audience, “you can do this”. Rather then inspiring, it’s pandering. I’d say to mop this movie away for something cleaner and more refined.