Looking at the Best Actress nominations, Mabel Mann takes on Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of entrepreneur Joy Mangano in David O. Russell’s Joy.
Joy is Good for the Soul…
My new found love for Jennifer Lawrence has grown into a mop-sized piece of my heart, her new star role as Joy Mangano in the film Joy had real life Lawrence littered throughout. The story of Mangano is inspiring, to say the least, and I left the cinema truly believing I was going to take over the world (or at least try).
The film’s fundamental plot is mature, with the consistent message of Joy’s hardships, trying to manage a dysfunctional family, whilst realising her dream invention of an easy-to-use mop. Her role of constantly restoring harmony to a hectic household is something that the ticket buying audience can relate to. Joy reaches into our homes not only through shopping channel QVC, but also by her unpretentious, folksy relatability, we all feel in part a piece of Joy, whether it be mother, inventor or normal struggling human being: she is one of us. The family consists of the legendary Robert De Niro, playing the exhausting father, Rudy Mangano, of which Joy’s task of mediating between him and her bewildered Mother, Terry, is a full time job in itself. Joy has two young children who she is determined to raise into independent strong adults. Joy’s firm outlook on life allows for unmissable motivation;
‘Christie, look at me. I want you to remember something, because a lot of times people get nice things and they start to think differently. We got here from hard work, patience and humility. So I want to tell you, don’t ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t. The world doesn’t owe you a thing’
One-time lounge singer, Joy’s ex-husband co-habitates with De Niro in the basement, like a pet the children got bored of, creating a perfectly imperfect family scenario. I love how ‘un-hollywood’ this film is, based on a true story of the realistic trials and tribulations of a working woman, it truly pulls at the heart strings. The film has an ironic romanticism, something that is subliminal throughout; Joy’s desire to succeed keeps you cheering for her the whole way. The fast paced, uninterrupted and hectic nature of the film doesn’t take away from the underlying loneliness of a single mother with more than mops to think about; showcasing emotion in a brilliantly subtle way. Bradley Cooper, playing booming dreamer, Neil Walker, a man who believes anything is possible as long as you ‘Show the hands!’ He turns rags to riches for a living and is the one person to give Joy’s mop a golden chance. A rollercoaster of emotions switches the channel to QVC shopping, the camera cuts from spiralling numbers to delirious faces and for a sweet moment the film allows us to relish in Joy’s success. A moment which was hard to not leave my seat in gloomy Kingston Rotunda and jump around like a crazy person! The film is built on the peaks and troughs of Joy’s life, narrated by her biggest fan and supportive grandmother; Mimi. Mimi is Joy’s only stable influence as the despair of her disloyal and cheating family continue to sweep away Joy’s dreams.
My new found love for Jennifer Lawrence has grown into a mop-sized piece of my heart
Verging on tongue in cheek, the film’s simple yet utterly inspiring story of Mangano’s struggle is one that you can’t fail to fall hopelessly in love with. After watching this film, I discard Hollywood blockbusters and feel this true life story of hard work, tribulation and reward is one that I will relish for a while. On my inevitable days of hard-core procrastination, this film will surely come to mind.
A creation of David O. Russell’s to remember, alike his previous works (American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook), if you are feeling pessimistic, go with an open mind, aspirational nature and a love for quirky films and you won’t be disappointed!
Director: David O. Russell
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Dascha Polanco
Nominations: Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)
Why You Should Watch It:
A true success story, perfect for anyone who is feeling the winter blues. I guarantee you will be inspired, a rags to riches story with an exhilarating buzz! You’re taken on a roller coaster of emotions, sometimes leaving you wanting more and sometimes leaving you totally exhausted. A must see film, among some greats in the Oscar nominations.
What It’s Missing:
I can’t say there is much ‘missing’ from this film, it has the delivery of valiant female power, cinematography containing the same depth and interest of Russell’s previous work and a glorious cast, which, however brings me on to my initial criticism. There’s nothing ‘missing’ as such, but perhaps the fabulous four (Lawrence, Cooper, De Niro and Russell) are a little over cooked. Personally, I love them, but for such a matter of fact film, the idea of spending billions on a fancy cast is a little ironic. I can’t help but ponder on the thought that the star character of Joy could have been played by a less beautiful, less successful actor. Perhaps seeing someone we didn’t know as well could have added an even bigger sense of blue collar success to the film.
The Worldly Rating: ****