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Wick's Review

Created Dec 02, 2017 06:42PM PST • Edited Dec 03, 2017 12:54PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Joy became more about Jennifer Lawrence than about Joy Mangano, the subject of this imaginative biopic. Even more, it became about JLaw reuniting with Bradley Cooper & Robert De Niro in a David O. Russell movie. Coming just three years after their Silver Linings Playbook garnered eight Oscar noms, with JLaw winning Best Actress, the expectations were monumental, and unmet. Pity, because Joy is a great movie.

    It’s clearly a David O. Russell picture, “half fiction” in his words and only “loosely based” on the inventor of the Miracle Mop. The famed auteur took creative license in order to explore his favored topics: crazy American families, TV obsessions and money, money, money. An Italian-American single mother who became a hugely successful entrepreneur was a perfect canvas on which to project his cinematic neuroses.

    In Joy Mangano, he found a smart-cookie Cinderella, put-upon by her whack-job family, including a husband who refuses to provide for her and their kids, at least as Russell’s movie would have it. Jennifer Lawrence is ideal in such a role, as her stellar career was built playing put-upon sisters and daughters, and now put-upon mothers, all of them subtly smarter than most everyone around her. Thus, Jen knows Joy.

    Want to learn about the real Joy? has the woman in her own words.

  3. Great 4.0

    Jennifer Lawrence has become the woman next door, masterful at conveying quiet resilience and patient exasperation. She’s also capable of wild emotionalism, but isn’t called upon for that in Joy, as she was in David O. Russell’s American Hustle two years before and his Silver Linings Playbook the year before that.

    Robert De Niro delivers one of his better recent roles as her hyperactive father. The great De Niro is hit or miss in the third reel of his career, but performances like in Joy remind us of his wired charisma.

    Bradley Cooper is somewhat disappointing as a QVC executive, perhaps because he seems too virile for the role, and we expect romantic sparks between him and JLaw, which the story doesn’t support.

    • Édgar Ramírez jumps offscreen as Joy’s husband, showing much more star power than as Roberto Durán in Hands of Stone.
    • Virginia Madsen also jumps offscreen as Joy’s TV-addicted mom. It’s a crazed and brilliant performance.
    • Diane Ladd exudes womanly strength as Joy’s grandmother.
    • Isabella Rossellini lends the proceedings an upscale imprimatur as De Niro’s rich wife.
    • Dascha Polanco brings verve to her role as Joy’s BFF.
    • Soap stars Susan Lucci, Laura Wright, Maurice Benard and Donna Mills entertainingly cameo as soap stars.
    • Ken Howard doens’t have to stretch to play a “Mop Executive”.
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Really Great 4.5
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Perhaps the reason Joy wan’t a huge hit is because it’s more Joy of Commerce than Joy of Sex, or even Joy of Cooking. Speaking of sex, there is none, which is never a great thing for the box office. Sex appeal sells.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Very Good 3.5
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.7

    Happily, this attractive MILF sells her product and herself without getting sexually harassed.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.6
  16. Violence Gentle 1.4
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.1
  18. Glib 1.5

    Setbacks and doubters are met with conviction and cleverness by Joy Mangano. That said, Joy veers wildly from her actual life story, as History vs. Hollywood on Joy documents.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.6
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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