Joy (2015)

2:44 PM

All the Emotions
 Joy is directed by David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) and stars Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook), Robert De Niro (The Intern, Silver Linings Playbook) and Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, Silver Linings Playbook). "Joy is the story of the title character, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty". Joy is the third time Lawrence, Cooper and Russell have teamed up - can they score a hatrick or is it third time unlucky?

Who would have thought a film that is essentially about the history of the mop can be so compelling, captivating and entraining? Well Joy certainly is. I was always excited for Joy even before any marketing material was released because I don't believe Russell, Lawrence and Cooper have put a step wrong as of yet. Then I saw the trailer and was even more impressed by the poster which all made me have very high hopes for this film. Then the reviews came in and they were quite mixed and no where near as positive as anybody was expecting. This then made me apprehensive but I have to say it, Joy was a wonderful movie - very very good. 

The film is incredibly well acted which is to be expected from a cast like this. Jennifer Lawrence is mesmerising and she brings something new to the table once again with Joy - she is very likeable which is incredibly important as it makes the audience route for her when she hits rough patches. Lawrence is probably my favourite actress working today and she always puts on a good performance, no matter the film (yes, even Serena). I can't say enough nice things about Lawrence's performance - she is excellent. Robert De Niro is also very good and brings a lot of humour to the film - he is a very good actor and performances like this explain why he has had such a long career. Bradley Cooper's role is much smaller than any of his other roles in a Russell movie to date - however, he still shines and puts on a great performance. The supporting cast are all very strong - the standout has to be Joy's best friend who was extremely supportive and another very likeable character. The generations of Joy - her mother and grand mother - were both acted very well and both had quirky characteristics. The only shaky performances came from the child actors - however, I will let them off as they are only a small issue in such a good film. 

I would like to quickly touch on the music that is used in this film - the film begins and ends with quite a groovy soundtrack - this helped the film to begin and end on quite a positive and uplifting note. I thought the music choices all suited the film quite well and it was quite nice to hear some well known songs in a film that usually would just have an instrumental score. The end scene with Joy and the music is also very good and is very effective - the scene is in the trailer but it is as empowering, strong and uplifting in the film. We also get to hear Jennifer Lawrence sing again which is always a fun little bonus!

I thought the film was very aesthetically pleasing - the film was very bright which worked well with the feel-good tone that was set. However, the film was at its best visually when Joy is striding through the street feeling accomplished - that shot is just fantastic. I also really like when Joy is taking part in the play (when the two characters are singing to each other) - this was also a really nice shot. Films like Joy prove you don't need fancy locations, superb costumes or technical visual effects to make good cinematography. 

I have to say, Joy has actually gave me the motivation to write this post and get through the backlog of posts I have to write - it is a very motivational and inspiring film. Even though it is essentially about the mop's history - it is more about business, a successful woman and troubles in everyday family - it is much more than a mop. The way Joy gets her idea and has to climb the ladder (whilst getting knocked down) to achieve success is very inspiring and when she gets her first big moment of success - well that scene had me feeling really happy and proud of her - it was fantastic! The story doesn't just stop there, the film is good at showing that even if you get success, you have to maintain it. Joy still gets knocked down but she manages to get back up. I really liked how there was a little twist at the end that you wouldn't have seen coming which kind of topped off Joy's success and got rid of all of her worries. Joy has moments where you want to applaud in the cinema, it is just a really uplifting, feel good movie that portrays a wonderful success story. 

If you have read my previous reviews, you know I love a strong female protagonist (Maleficent, The Hunger Games, The Force Awakens). Well, Joy is another one of those characters. This film does have a stereotypical idea that mops are for women but Joy is just an incredible person and character. She is so motivated, so passionate, so empowering. I think she is a great role model for anyone who wants to go into business. The film is very feminist which may turn some off - however, I really enjoyed it and thought it showed that even in the past when women were considered inferior, they can be just as successful (and more) than men. However, saying that, the film is a little unfair in terms of its representation of men - other than Joy's sister, any of the characters that are somewhat dislikable are male. The film also spotlights Joy's daughter but almost completely ignores her son. I don't know if this was a deliberate choice but I think that could be a turn off for some viewers.

Now Joy isn't a perfect movie and I thought I would end with a few minor things I had issues with. In some areas, the transitions and editing felt a little off and not very smooth. I don't know if this was a creative choice but especially towards the beginning of the film, the editing was a little rocky. This did come across a little TV movie esque but like I say, it is only a minor issue. However, one piece of editing I really did like was just after the first flashback of Joy's love life when it flash forwarded through a flashing camera kind of effect - I really liked this. I also didn't really get the point in the sitcom that the film kept switching back to - I would actually like to know how much screen time the sitcom got! However, as the film progresses and characters change, the sitcom does fade out which is a positive. 

Joy is a very very good film - it is incredibly well acted - Lawrence is captivating, strong and amazing. The film has some good and unique music choices and is actually quite humorous. Joy will make you feel a mix of emotions- laughter, pride, sadness, anger, relief (wait, this isn't Inside Out ;) ).  Joy is a mostly well made film with some occasionally off editing but great cinematography. The film does skew quite feminist but that isn't a bad thing as the character of Joy is fantastic - a great role model to all. Joy is a very enJOYable film that I would definitely recommend. Joy is a film you will be happy that you watched - more than just a mop. 

Being the first film I saw in cinemas in 2016, this year is off to a great start. 

4.5 STARS
A

What do you think of JOY? Do you agree that this team up has scored a hatrick? - COMMENT BELOW

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