There is an incandescence, a luminosity, an aura that twenty-five-year-old Jennifer Lawrence possesses in staggering proportions; it is intoxicating, spellbinding watching her perform; she seizes and controls to the core her every character, and in portraying Joy (Mangano), the inventor of the Miracle Mop, she adds another rarefied gem to her ever-expanding list of archival achievements.
Director David O. Russell’s “Joy”, at times too ambitious, but scores with Lawrence’s depiction. As a child Joy was vividly imaginative, a born creator, spurred solely by her grandmother (Diane Ladd gifts the role sensitivity, encouragement and love) but in adulthood she is surrounded by harridans, parasites, dysfunctionalism: mother (Virginia Madsen) a likely agoraphobic, television “soaps” inform her reality; father (Robert De Niro) sharing the basement with her ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez), in tandem, feeding off Joy’s bountiful kindness. Truly astounding, is Joy’s lack of bitterness, angst, accepting circumstances even when beyond the realm of her control.
Never have Plato’s words been more prophetic, Joy’s desperation, “necessity” awakened her entrepreneurial spirit, inventing the “Miracle Mop”, easing the bane of the housewife; a simple tool that revolutionized home –care, freeing hands from the detrimental effects of cleaning chemicals. Through a myriad of vicissitudes she debuts her product on the “Home Shopping Network” where host “Neil Walker” (ever compelling, charismatic Bradley Cooper) ignites her “showmanship”; Joy and the mop miraculously soar.
The film temporarily looses its way, meandering between familial and professional hurdles but Lawrence owns “Joy”, masters her relentless, indefatigable drive towards success; most remarkable, she infuses this ordinary, middle class woman of “vision” with the beauty, respect and glory reserved for the mighty; herein lies the greatness of Joy and Jennifer.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!