‘Joy’ Review

'Joy' the newest addition to David O. Russell’s cinematic band of misfits, inspires audiences through how the Miracle Mop came to be.

‘Joy’ uses the star power of Jennifer Lawrence to inspire a clean slate this holiday season.

Photo courtesy of Steven Zang.

Ever since the turn of the 20th century, it’s been hard to ever catch a break. A clean slate is a rare occurrence, with debt and discouragement all around. However, one woman was able to wipe away her troubles with her creative outlook on the world. This is the mind behind the Miracle Mop: Joy Mangano. Her life was an emotional rollercoaster and the storyline behind this year’s biographical box-office hit, Joy.

Director David O’ Russell (known for his work in The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and even American Hustle) has always been a character-driven filmmaker, finding the complexities and dynamics in certain relationships visually-pleasing. Hence, Joy  finds most of its stride in its characters, building drama-enticing bonds similar to the soap operas that they mock.

The title character, played miraculously (no pun intended) by the engaging Jennifer Lawerence, struggles to find her place in the world. She constantly juggles new jobs with her mother’s obsession with daytime television, her ex-husband living in the basement and her father, Rudy (played by the almighty patriarch, Robert DeNiro), getting kicked out by his second wife, Sharon. Additionally, Joy must put up with the obstacle of her envious step-sister, Peggy, who wants nothing more than to see her fail.

Despite all odds, however, Joy works to her utmost ability to invent her way to success, going through the hoops of her un-motivational family and the thieves of big-business. What really struck me once the closing credits hit was how inspiring her story was, initially finding a biopic about the measly invention of a mop somewhat unappetizing. Just ask Ninfa DiCristina, a local moviegoer with a love for inspiring cinema. “The picture Joy was, ironically, a real joy,” said DiCristina. “Despite its fast pacing, it reminded me that in order to succeed, you must never give up and believe in yourself until the end.”

Even the cinematography stands out throughout the film’s two-hour running time, constantly moving the camera with pans, tilts, zooms and every other trick in the filmmaker’s handbook. The camera makes you feel like you’re part of the action, moving with the characters and only stopping at each vital moment in Joy’s story.

Overall, Joy, with its strong sense of femininity and its constant battle with lower-class hardship, leaves its audience with a message of hope and strength. No matter if your idea is the size of a kitchen mop, this film sheds light on the heart that it takes to achieve your dreams. It might not match the past work of David O’ Russell, but it definitely leaves a mark, one that will bring you joy for the rest of this holiday season.

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