By Mandela Wells
There have been many frequent actor-director collaborations over the years. Some of these include Martin Scorsese and Robert De-Niro, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Dicaprio, Quentin Tarantino Samuel L Jackson, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton and even David O’Russell and Mark Wahlberg just to name a few. The latest one is another with David O Russell and Jennifer Lawrence. These two have proven to be made for each other. Along with her amazing acting ability, O Russell was equally instrumental in Lawrence receiving an Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” and receiving another nomination for “American Hustle” the following year. They now reunite for their 3rd project together, “Joy”.
“Joy” turns out to be a real first for David. This is his first time he is directing a sole lead in one of his films. In “Joy”, Lawrence comes off of the final “Hunger Games” film with a strong performance here. Yet however for O Russell he seemed to have a hard time navigating in an intriguing way this simple story of a woman inventing a mop. Although the film turned out to be pretty good it was not as spectacular and funny as I was hoping it would be.
Joy Mangano (Lawrence) is the focus of this story and it looks at how in 1989 she came up with the idea of making a special type of mop known today as the Miracle Mop. With many ups and downs as well as having to deal with the crazy amount of family members and friends in her house the film explores Joy’s successful rise in the world of product manufacturing and how she landed on the top network for product presentations, QVC.
As good as this film was it’s not a memorable one. People will forget this come March I’m sure of it because it is probably one of David’s weakest stories to go with. It had a certain pace and style in the script but in all honest it needed a little more work. He also needed more humor in this story. He seems to thrive more off of characters that are highly unusual like Tiffany Maxwell, Dicky Eckland, Roslyn Rosenfield, Major Archie Gates and so on. Joy Mangano seemed like a challenge for him in ways at least in my eyes. On a more positive note he did get great performances from his cast.
Jennifer Lawrence, not surprised is exceptional here! A product like a mop is tricky to sell as a dope product in a movie and just in life and Lawrence does a fine job of making others see its worth and how handy it is. Its impressive that the real joy actually made this and had such an impressive business sales mind that made this successful and earned her a matriarch. I must say though, goodness gracious this woman tackled so much in earlier years. I mean Jesus an ex husband and father who hate each other in the basement, terrible job, a mother who doesn’t leave her bed and two kids. She persevered greatly with this one simple product. I am not sure if I would have bought this product but I probably would have been floored at how well she managed to ring in customers for this mop if I had ever met this woman when she was making this.
Robert De Niro was really good here and so was Edgar Ramirez. Ramirez really spoke David’s dialogue well and fitted in perfectly into his world. It was even cool to see Virgina Madsen and Isabella Rossellini after so long and to see them play these oddball characters was just great.
The film was also technically well done. O Russell really goes against the norms of a biopic film and uses unique imagery, flashbacks and imaginative scenarios to tell the feelings and emotions of this woman Joy. This in my opinion was a true testament to the film’s solid art direction. I also Liked the lighting on this, it is Keeping the trend from his last two films.
So despite the fact the story wasn’t as great as I had hoped, O’Russell by no means produced a terrible piece of work. I am interested to see what he tackles as his next project and hopefully it will be a bit better than this. As for Lawrence I am looking forward to Passengers and seeing the next chapter of her acting career continue on forward.
Image by Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_%28film%29)