Joy (12A)

Directed by David O Russelle
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Virginia Madsen, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Elisabeth Rohm, Isabella Rossellini. Dascha Polanco

Like most of the planet, I love Jennifer Lawrence, although a biopic about the inventor of the Miracle Mop seemed an unusual choice. Director David O. Russell brings the old team of JLaw, Bradley Cooper and Robert DiNiro back together once again after Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, with Lawrence very firmly the star this time.
She plays Joy, a super efficient and intelligent woman with an unfortunate family. Shut-in soap fan mum (Virginia Madsen), gruff and grumpy dad (DeNiro) and a deadbeat ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez). The first hour or so whizzes through Joy's life with montage after montage, until slowing down to tell us the tale of her miracle mop development.
To be honest, the madcap race and oddball characters are a bit much, with saintly Joy a too good to be true centre. However, you do get to care about her and the problems she has getting people to believe in her ideas. Will QVC sell her mop properly? Will the plastics company succeed in swindling her? That you care says a lot about the charisma of Jennifer Lawrence, who succeeds over the unlikely plot and some ill judged attempts to make her all gangster and an overly syrupy finale.
Don't be fooled by those photos of Lawrence with a shotgun, this is no action movie but is an enjoyable if flawed sort-of true story with the always watchable Lawrence holding it together. Once again she is really too young to play the part - I look forward to seeing her play a 25 year old - and breaking away from David O Russell and doing something different. Still a female centred film, that is definitely something different from most of the Hollywood output


January 2016

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