Right, I wasn’t originally going to see this, I didn’t like American Hustle and probably one of the very few human beings to not rate Jennifer Lawrence as an actor, no I haven’t seen Silver Linings Playbook, yes I’ll get around to it but haven’t seen much in other films she’s been in. So it’s safe to say I had very little expectations with this film. When the film started with this sudo soap drama setting and messy introduction of the characters, I can’t help but feel my expectations were being met. But, at the same time the Joy character had enough, so did the film and became better. By the end of it I’m glad to say that I not only enjoyed the film, but can now see what everyone was on about with Jennifer Lawrence.
Joy is the rags-to-riches/underdog story of Joy Mangano, a divorced mother of two, living in a hellish soap opera who becomes a success with her invention, the Miracle Mop. She is surrounded by endless naysayers who try to stop her reaching the top and put her in her place. But she keeps on fighting and against all odds with very little support manages to get where she wants to be.
Now I did enjoy the film, I’m a sucker for rags-to-riches stories, but it does have it’s flaws. Every character that isn’t Joy, are your very typical plot devices. They are all one note characters who are there to guide the Joy story along. They bring very little value to the film and you can’t help but think that the film would be no different if Joy was talking to post-it notes with their archetypes written on it. But take away the one note characters and meandering that is the first act, you are left with Joy, a well rounded and excellently performed character with an interesting core story. Seeing her succeed and to paraphrase of the characters “live in a mans world” was wonderful to watch. I was truly behind the character all the way. When things went well, I cheered, when things went bad, I cried, always with the character. I believed in her ability and when she went down and people put those barriers around her, I felt her rage and urged her to break them down.
If however there was something to criticize about the character and her portrayal it would be that part way through the story, Joy turns from a caring, hard working mother to a take no prisoners business kingpin in very quick succession which I didn’t find convincing at all. She does go back on track later but it feels more of a step backwards at the point.
But that aside I did enjoy Joy’s tale and performance but it is dragged down by it’s very lacking supporting characters which is a great shame.