Inspired by True Events, Joy is the story of the woman who invents the Miracle Mop. The title character is a struggling single mother who, in addition to raising her children, is taking care of her dysfunctional parents and ex-husband. Her story is full of betrayal, failures, and heart-break, but she refuses to stoop to what appears to be her destiny in mediocrity.
Joy makes it clear as a child that she doesn’t need a prince to make her dreams come true. The feminist rags to riches through hard work story is reminiscent of Erin Brockovich. It should be inspiring and uplifting, but it falls flat. There is clear effort to make Joy relatable and sympathetic, but possibly to no fault of her own, Jennifer Lawrence never quite disappears into the role. Perhaps it is the age difference (Lawrence is in her 20’s and playing a woman in her 30’s). For some reason, it is just hard to picture Lawrence as this character which makes it difficult to connect emotionally.
Virginia Madsen steals the spotlight as Joy’s reclusive mother and her self-absorbed father is played by the amazing Robert De Niro. Bradley Cooper also has a small role as a head honcho a QVC. While well-worth a watch, this star-studded cast couldn’t make the movie exceptional.