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Movie Review: Joy

Jennifer Lawrence seems to be all the buzz since the last installment of The Hunger Games series. To add to her list of recent achievements, her latest leading performance in David O. Russell’s JOY already has Oscar predictions eyeing her for the prize, which is rightfully deserved.
Lawrence portrays the – mostly – true life of Joy Mangano, housewife turned inventor who built a business empire on the “Miracle Mop”. O. Russell brings the new biopic to life by telling a story of a determined woman who never gave up her dream, even when others told her to. The film is narrated by Joy’s proud grandmother (Diane Ladd) which brings viewers a much deeper story that is that of a great woman inventor divorced and raising three children in the 1990’s, working a variety of jobs to make ends meet.
However, Joy is not just taking care of her children. After being kicked out by his girlfriend, Joy’s father (Robert De Niro) is sent back to her house to live. He is added on with Joy’s mother (Virginia Madison) who spends her time in bed watching soap operas, and to top it all off, Joy’s ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez) lives in the basement, creating a career as a lounge singer. Joy seems almost at her wits end with her family, including her sister (Elisabeth Röhm) who reminds her everyday how pathetic her life has become.
Then, a bolt of creative energy hits her after a bad experience cleaning up broken glass. Joy invents the idea of the “Miracle Mop.” a plastic mop with a head made from a continuous loop of 300 feet of cotton that can be easily wrung out without getting the user’s hands wet. Unfortunately for Mangano fraud, patent infringement, and money loss seem to follow Joy even on her brightest days, but the determined mother of three never lets anything stop her from getting what she wants.
Beautifully casted, Russell’s movie brings Lawrence’s best performance to the screen and watching her in a movie once again with Cooper and De Niro is such a delight. Linus Sandgren’s cinematography for the film captures the essence of the 90’s with a modern twist from the music of indie rock band Alabama Shakes, which perfectly accents Joy’s focused journey. JOY is a true American rags-to-riches story that will leave audiences with the message that anything is possible, even as an invisible housewife living in pre-Y2K America.

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