Film review: Joy starts the year in inspirational fashion

Jennifer Lawrence in Joy

Jennifer Lawrence in Joy

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Matt Adcock reviews Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro

This year kicks off with the incredible, life-affirming “based on true events” tale of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) – inventor of the first self-wringing mop...

You might not think a film that revolves around the creation of the ‘Miracle Mop’ would be the stuff of nail-biting tension, heartbreaking loss, intense emotion and searing against all odds determination, but you’d be wrong.

Director David ‘American Hustle’ O Russell has a real knack of getting some of the very best performances from Lawrence and she is on absolutely jaw-dropping form again here. It wouldn’t surprise me if their combo works for a repeat Oscar nod – as they did with Silver Linings Playbook. Joy’s life is anything but like her name though.

Divorced and trying to bring up her two young children while also helping her ill grandmother (who lives in one of the downstairs rooms), Joy has money problems and little support from her bitchy half sister Peggy (Elisabeth Röhm) and father Rudy (Robert De Niro) who has anger issues. There is never a dull moment in her miserable life.

Despite all the odds being stacked against her, Joy takes life by the scruff of the neck and ventures into the cut throat world of enterprise.

Armed only with her creativity, good heart and unrelenting drive to succeed she faces challenge after challenge in trying to make it.

Thanks to her ex-husband setting up a meeting for her, Joy’s path crosses with slick Neil Walker (a highly charismatic turn by Bradley Cooper), who runs the newly establish QVC channel and could provide a real chance for her mop-based commercial aspirations. But success does not come easy for Joy and viewers are put through an emotional wringer as trials and tribulations pepper this rollercoaster of a tale.

Joy is powerful inspiration for anyone looking to succeed – she’s a bold woman, a heroine for the modern age who battles for herself without relying on a prince charming in an empowering and most non-Disney way.

It’s refreshing to see a film that can grip you so hard without having any real physical threat or violence.

This is fine film making which shows just how big a drama life is, be it in business or socially. Joy will leave you stimulated and inspired to face whatever the year might throw at you – and very likely feeling the titular emotion too. Recommended!

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