David O. Russell
Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Édgar Ramírez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Elisabeth Röhm, Dascha Polanco, Melissa Rivers, Donna Mills, Susan Lucci, Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Alexander Cook, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Drena De Niro, Isabella Crovetti-Cramp, Madison Wolfe, Emily Nunez
The story of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), a divorced, young mother of two, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.
Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper starring in a film directed by David O. Russell, how original. Anyway, I had high expectations for this film given the story and the people who worked in it: what a disappointment!
Bland but with a strong performance from its lead, Jennifer Lawrence, "Joy" doesn't quite live up to its title.
The story, a feel-good American dream kind of story, is loosely based on the true story of inventor Joy Mangano, and had Oscar material written all over. Then the screenplay happened. A terrible, atrociously written screenplay, which choose to focus on the dysfunctional family rather than the inventions and career path of the main character. Joy's family indeed has an important role in her life, but it takes over on everything else, and it ends up overshadowing Joy's growth, as she learns about the world of business eventually losing her innocence.
The fairly tale narrated by the dead grandmother is ruled by chaos, and it's quite hard to understand how such a simple and straightforward story ended up in a film that doesn't exceed by much the level of a soap opera.
The editing certainly does not help. The scenes, that seems to be cut with by a brutal butcher, feel like they were put together randomly at the expense of the decisions and motivations of the protagonist: it's not very clear how a haircut is connected and have the same value of the invention of mop. Of course, there's a path behind it, but the messing editing really doesn't help.
The production design is that of a Christmas film, but maybe that's what David O. Russell wanted, it was released at Christmas after all. The same applies for the poor music choices. Maybe it was someone's iPod on shuffle, who knows.
And lastly the acting. Jennifer Lawrence gives an incredible performance, the best it could have been given the role. She carries the whole film, and she brings some energy to the character - and film - without which we would struggle to find something interesting in the film. Did she deserve to win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy? And over Amy Schumer? I don't think so. Robert De Niro is a great actor, I'd never dare to say otherwise, but I'm really tired of seeing him doing the same role over and over again. Bradley Cooper's performance is quite weak, but the rest of the cast is no better, that's certainly not the case.