When I said to my friends, “I watched a really good film the other day, it was about a mop,” they weren’t all rushing to see it. By golly, this film is about a mop! It is really good! Written and directed by, David. O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), the striving auteur has once again mixed Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper together. He threw in a dash of De Niro on a bed of seemingly-boring-plot. He let it simmer in it’s own juices for around two hours and what he cooked up was sheer magic.
Joy (2015) tells the story of Joy Mangano, a divorced parent of two who gave up a promising academic career to support her often-absent dad (De Niro) and her soap-opera obsessed mother, Terry (Virginia Madsen). An unfulfilled Joy finds herself working as a booking clerk for Eastern Airlines to make ends meet and her unmet potential is often cruelly pointed out by her half-sister, Peggy. Her grandma, Mimi (Diane Ladd) and ex-husband, Tony (Edgar Ramirez) are the only people in her corner.
Great inventions are often inspired by mundane events, and in Joy’s case, it was a broken wine glass. The simple task of clearing up the shattered glass set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to the creation of a ubiquitous household item – the self wringing mop.
While it is a given how the story will end, it doesn’t mean that it is anything less than an emotional roller-coaster. With every failure, whether by Joy’s own hand or by the lack of support from the ones close to her, O.Russell ensures that you feel the gut wrenching pang of disappointment. What makes this film so inspiring is that when you feel like Joy should give up, or should I say; hang up, her ‘continuous loop of 300 feet of super-absorbent cotton’ and go back to her day job – Joy perseveres. When you feel as though Joy should tell her family where to stick it, and never speak to them again – Joy somehow finds the strength to forgive.
The success is so imminent for Joy you can practically taste it. You find yourself yearning to see her succeed and that becomes your end goal, as much as it was Joy Mangano’s goal. When she finds herself face to face with, Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper), QVC executive and the very key to her salvation, the fear and excitement is almost too much to bare. Luckily there are strokes of comedic genius within this otherwise heavy drama, perfectly placed to cut through all the tension.
This outstandingly witty, furiously motivating and emotionally turbulent biographical-comedy, mingles the astounding facts of Joy Mangano’s journey and the vivid imagination of O. Russell. When the fact and fiction are combined, they make one of the best female underdog stories since Erin Brockovich. Jennifer Lawrence once again wows us with her acting talents. Her portrayal of the straight talking, ruthlessly determined, Joy cannot be faulted.
I watched a really good film about a mop the other day. I highly recommend you do the same.