This week’s film rental was Joy starring BMAF favourite, Jennifer Lawrence re-teaming with her American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell. It would also reunite her with Bradley Cooper (this would be their fourth time working together as these 2 also starred in Serena)her
The film sees Jennifer play Joy Mangano, a divorced mother in the 90’s who invented the Miracle Mop and became an overnight sensation on home shopping channels, She would eventually become a self-made millionaire and create her own business empire.
However, the film starts out showing Joy working as a booking clerk for an airline company. We learn she is living with not only her 2 children but also her ex-husband, Tony (Edgar Ramirez) lives in the basement and her mother Terri (Virginia Madsen) and her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd)
Her grandmother believes Joy can do so much more than her airline work, but she is going through the motions to pay the bills, with neither Tony nor her mother, who seems happy to stay in bed watching soaps all day, contribute much to the house.
Joy has a half-sister, Peggy (Elisabeth Rohm) who has been more successful than her, and seems to take great pleasure in this, causing a lot of friction between the two. Peggy lives with their father Rudy (Robert DeNiro) who has a successful workshop.
When Joy’s hours at the airline are changed, it looks like her job might be at risk, everything looks like it might collapse around Joy, until an accident on a boat owned by Trudy (Isabella Rossellini) a wealthy Italian, who is now dating Rudy.
Whilst on a boat, a bottle of red wine is broken on the wooden deck, to avoid disaster, Joy uses a Mop to clear the mess up, cutting and slicing her hands on the glass as she wrings out the mop.
This inspires her to make a self-wringing mop, we know she has the mind for this task as she made a dog collar, which never came to fruition, as her unsupportive mother never helped her get it patented.
Joy uses Rudy’s workshop to build a test model and it looks like she is on to a winner, but despite desperate attempts to get the mop into shops, even doing displays with her best friend, Jackie (Dascha Polanco) in car parks of the local superstore, no one is interested in a $20 mop over a $5 one.
Tony gets Joy a meeting with an old friend at the TV shopping network, where she manages to pitch the mop to Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper) who sees her vision. He agrees to give it a slot on the channel, but the presenter is completely incompetent.
Joy persuaded her family including Trudy to back her, as well as remortgaging her home, so the presenter disaster leaves her facing bankruptcy, after they heavily invested to meet the networks quota for products for sale.
It is here the film really ups a gear as whilst we see Joy’s determination, it is her outright belief that she has a great product that comes out as she demands Neil change the shopping channel stance of having presenters and let her sell the product as she knows it better than anyone.
Neil agrees, and even when Joy freezes on air, a call from Jackie, gets her more confident and when she can show the mop and its advantages, it becomes a huge hit.
We see how her empire grows, the ups and some big downs, when Peggy deals with the mops third party manufacturing company causing again Joy to be challenged and to face up to possible bankruptcy unless she deals with it herself.
The second half of this film really is excellent, but it was not helped by a very slow opening which seemed more interested in showing the soap that Terri enjoys so much. It is however, effective to show that Joy did all this with no real support behind her, other than her grandmother.
It is the story of the success of the mop and the techniques of the shopping channel as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of Joy, which make the film, rather than the story of the dysfunctional family.
The film is only part based on Joy’s story, Peggy her half sister is purely fictional for example, but none the less the film is a tribute to women entrepreneurs everywhere.
Lawrence is outstanding in the title role, and makes the film at all times watchable. She was extremely worthy of her 4th Oscar nomination in our opinion. We think if you watch the film, you will be entertained despite the rocky start
Have you seen Joy? What is your favourite David O. Russell/Jennifer Lawrence film? We would love to hear from you here at Barking Mad About Films
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