I have been accused on the iKnowBadeaux podcast of only reviewing movies that I enjoy but, my feelings about Joy are mixed.
Let’s start with the good.
This movie is a must-see solely due to Jennifer Lawrence‘s performance. She plays Joy Mangano the inventor of the Miracle Mop and brings forth complexities of the character that no other actor would have been able to. One can’t help but be amazed at the Lawrence’s ability to elevate characters and entire movies with her emotional performances.
She delivers, once again, a “Best Female Actor” worthy performance.
Unfortunately, the movie could not keep up with her performance.
Director, David O. Russell‘s screenplay is the same that we have seen from him with Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. It has become old hat and has lost all of its charms. The same steady cam, continuous shots that were once artistic and innovative have become boring and predictable.
The story itself leaves much to be desired, feeling disjointed and rushed at times while also moving at a snail’s pace at others.
Robert DeNiro returns as basically the same character he played in Silver Linings Playbook and it is hard to tell if his performance was lackluster or if the screenplay just didn’t lend itself to allowing a better performance. Throughout the movie relationship dynamics are glossed over making it challenging, at times, to understand why people are behaving the way that they are towards one another.
What can’t be denied is Russell’s ability to pull amazing performances from his actors. It is this quality that will keep audiences coming back to the box office for his movie.
Bradley Cooper turns in a great performance with a limited supporting role as Neil Walker a QVC executive. Lawrence and Cooper’s chemistry cannot be denied, in their limited screen time together, they are able to do what so much of the movie isn’t able to… make you forget that it is another David O. Russel movie. It doesn’t seem like they are repetitive characters participating in the same witty banter that captivated audiences in Silver Linings Playbook.
This is a testament to David O. Russel’s directing. He is what my wife calls, an actors director. This movie is clear evidence of that.
Bottom line, see it (love it?) for Jennifer Lawrence and her amazing acting chops. But don’t be surprised when you feel like the movie as a whole was a let down when the credits roll.