Monday, December 28, 2015
Review: Joy (2015)
'Joy' Made Me Feel Anything But
Not only do I think that this is the weakest effort from David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence, but I think with each passing film they do together, Lawrence's young age becomes more visible with each role.
Joy is inspired by real-life stories of inspiring women and based on the story of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence). The film follows Joy across four generations of her life, showing her rough family and marriage life as well as journey to becoming a powerful entrepreneur.
I thought the film had a neat message towards the end about how when it comes to persevering in this world, the only person that you can first rely on is yourself. While nobody gets through life on their own, if you can't love yourself, then you aren't going to get very far. Unfortunately, that message came too little, too late.
Despite the film being the weakest effort of DOR and Jennifer Lawrence, is Lawrence still good though? Well, she's okay. She tries to elevate the material she's given, but she's really just going through the motions here. The role plays to her serio-comic quirks, but it still wasn't a big stretch for her. As for the rest of the cast, their roles are not only underwritten, but half their characters are either despicable or air-headed. Not only that, but these actors don't even try to elevate the caricatures they are given. Most of the blame lies on the writing as well as the direction.
I also felt the tone was very uneven. During the first maybe 20 minutes, it becomes very "O'Russellian" with fast-paced dialogue, quick editing, and loud performances. But then when the directing becomes more restrained, it lost me pretty quickly. There are even these dream sequences that Joy has which, to me, don't really go anywhere. Because the film was originally written by Annie Mumolo before David O. Russell gave it his own treatment, I kind of wish I had seen a version with Mumolo's script because while O. Russell did attempt to add his traditional flare to the script and the film, it simply didn't work.
Overall, Joy is the weakest effort from David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence that lacks the heart of Silver Linings Playbook and even the vivacity of American Hustle.