Joy

First Hit:  Wonderful story about a woman who learned to understand her creative inventive power and used it to change her life and the world around her.

This is the story about Joy Mangano. Yes, dramatic license was taken in presenting this story, however the essence and path of the story is true.

Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) married the wrong guy Tony (Edgar Ramirez), who lives in her basement because he cannot afford to live anywhere else. Her mom Terry (Virginia Madsen), lives in her house and spends all her time watching soap operas from her bed.

Her Dad Rudy (Robert DeNiro), helps to pay the mortgage because when he’s not living with a girlfriend he’s living in her house as well. Then, like bookends, also living in her house are her two children who require her time and attention and her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd).

Mimi keeps pushing her to get back to the creative person she was as a child so that she can become the true successful matriarch of the family. Joy's life is filled with one problem after another. She addresses and deals with them in a robotic way so that she can take just one more step. Resignation is the sign she carries in her eyes and in her spirit.

Finally, the creative inventive person she was when she was young perks back to the surface when she cuts herself cleaning up wine and broken glass with a mop. This event pushes her to invent a mop which revolutionizes the mop and cleaning.

The rest of the film is about the difficulties of getting the product sold. She sells the head of QVC Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper) that this mop can be a success on his network. He takes the chance, it fails, but her perseverance gets her another opportunity. The interaction between Lawrence and Cooper is magnetic. They work so well together.

Another one of my favorite scenes is preceded by her admitting defeat and then with all being lost, she digs into the paperwork and agreements and shows up in Texas (think showdown on main street) with someone who claims he owns a patent on her product. The dialogue in the hotel room – perfect.

This film is about perseverance, belief, and the ability to find one’s inner strength to explore what might be next.

Lawrence gives another top-notch performance. It will be considered for possible selection in the Oscar race. De Niro is strong as the flighty unfocused father. Isabella Rossellini’s performance as Trudy, De Niro’s latest girlfriend, was inspired. Madsen was funny and oddly interesting as the soap opera watching mom. Ladd was sweet as the solid motivating family matriarch grandmother. Ramirez was great as the ex-husband who supports his former wife’s plans. Cooper was fantastic. He fully embraced the role as guide, cheerleader and occasional heavy. Dascha Polanco was outstanding as Joy’s supportive friend Jackie. David O. Russell wrote and directed this team of actors with originality, focus, and clarity.

Overall:  I loved the inspiration that emanates from this film.