The big screen biopic Joy, about entrepreneur and Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano, is inspiring and much, much more. Her story highlights the struggles of a single mom who is determined to achieve her version of the American Dream.
Starring in the title role is Jennifer Lawrence. This is her third powerful collaboration with filmmaker David O. Russell, who wrote and directed Joy as he did Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. All three films co-star Bradley Cooper. In this movie he plays dynamic QVC executive Neil Walker.
It’s hard to say what is most compelling—the story itself, the way it’s told onscreen or the performances of the star-studded cast. We’ve all seen movies about overcoming obstacles and triumphing over adversity. Joy fits that mold but escapes the cliché because the story is unique. If it were not based on reality, audiences might find it far-fetched.
The movie, which opens on Christmas Day, is as much about Joy’s quirky, dysfunctional family as about a woman chasing her dreams. Joy has an eccentric mother (Virginia Madsen); a wanna-be singer ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez); and an opinionated “tell it like it is” father, played to perfection by the incomparable Robert De Niro.
A requirement for movies about beating the odds is to make the audience root for the central character and feel like they’re fighting right along with her. Joy accomplishes that, effectively depicting the failure, pain, disappointment and struggles of the protagonist and culminating, after a long, hard battle, in a satisfying payoff.