Joy – Movie Review


Directed by David O Russell, Joy is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, an American inventor, businesswoman, and an entrepreneur, with over a hundred patents to her name. Jennifer Lawrence is fabulous in the role of Joy.

As a little girl, Joy liked to make things and had big dreams.  Her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd) believed in Joy’s hidden talents but somewhere along the way however, Joy’s life got derailed.  This is a sad saga that is often repeated where parents get divorced and the trajectory of a child’s life changes.  Joy’s supposedly promising early life is squandered on taking care of her divorced mother (Verginia Madsen), who lies in her bed all day watching soap operas, and her father (Robert De Niro), who changes girl friends more frequently than his shabby clothes, and her two infant children.  Her husband (Edgar Ramirez) also hangs out in the basement of her old rickety house.  

Joy’s inspiring story line is somewhat marred by incoherent narration and poorly displayed and unresolved interpersonal family conflicts.  Film’s most interesting material centers around Joy’s invention of her highly absorbent, self-wringing, washable “miracle mop”, followed by her struggle to scale.  During formative years, Joy’s largely absentee father, Rudy, helps her get seed money for her project from his new rich girlfriend, Trudy (Isabella Rossellini) and along with her sinister half sister, Peggy (Elizabeth Rohm), appear to help her in her business endeavors.  But their motives seem to be more complex and self-serving.  The family scenes appear jumpy, somewhat random and do not adequately emphasize everything Joy had to overcome and how she did it.  (It could so because some of these scenes were added and some information changed when the story moved in the hands of David O. Russell from Annie Mumolo, and the focus changed from an entirely biopic story to a more emotional, all-encompassing saga).

Joy’s initial attempt to sell her invention through QVC (Quality, Value, Convenience), flops and she enlists the help of Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper) who introduces her to the emerging concept of marketing through television.  Joy herself appears in front of the camera to make her own pitch and soon her miracle mop was selling by thousands.  She faces some serious struggles along the way, which almost brought her to bankruptcy, including dealing with patent infringement issues.  Her resolve, persistence, and creativity carry her through the storm and by the end of the film, Joy is sitting in the head honcho chair, making decisions.

The story of a woman who was selling $10M worth of Miracle Mops a year in ten years after launch (as per Wikipedia), who invented HSN’s best selling product (by 2010), the “Huggable Hangers”, that were endorsed by Oprah Winfrey; story of a woman who invented “Forever Fragrant”, “Performance Platform”,  “Clothes it all luggage system” and other awesome stuff, just fails to be what it should be, an epic saga of inspiration, entrepreneurship, and creativity.  If not as inspiring as it could be, Joy is still an interesting and informative movie and if you some research on Wiki, you will find all the inspiring stuff on this entrepreneurial woman who ended up as President of Ingenious Designs, LLC that was later bought by US TV shopping channel, HSN (Home Shopping Network).  She remains HSN’s most successful sellers, with annual sales topping $150M.  If seemingly having holes, the film is still a rich tapestry of Joy’s life.  I rate Joy as 4.8 on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being “excellent”.  

 

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