Joy, directed by David O’Russell is a story of hope. It offers up a fork in the road of any persons life, in this case it is Joy, a woman in a rut looking after her family and children. The film opens with her moving around her small suburban home. Her mother is addicted to watching the television, her ex husband is living in the basement and her children and young and needy. Joy is the one to fix all the problems. She is the one everyone relies on. She has sacrificed her education and happiness to tend to everyone else until one day she drops a glass of wine on a boat and her life is split in two.
She begins to mop up the red wine before it stains. She wrings out the wine from the mop head, cutting her hands on the glass. This is the eureka moment, the moment of change. She decides to invent the ultimate mop, the house gadget that will redefine cleaning. This mop has a lever so that you never have to touch the head. It is ultra absorbent due to the lengths of cotton sewn in to the top and is machine washable. It is an excellent product. But joy bumps into every obstacle in the road. She has to borrow money from her father’s girlfriend and buy the patents for the design from a man in Hong Kong she has never met. She eventually finds success in Bradley Cooper who gives her a slot on QVC.
It is a film of hope. That anyone can break away from their home town and be bigger and better than their own expectations. Jennifer Lawrence provides us with a believable performance, made more amicable by O’Russell direction. He uses long meandering takes rather than cuts that would break the viewer’s attention. He follows Joy as she moves manically from each room of her house tending to people and problems. The camera is us the viewer, a character in Joy’s world. The characters walk towards the camera instead of ignoring it. All elements that make this film a realistic tale and not a piece of Americanised fiction. It is a gritty story with moments of travesty but also moments of humour and human compassion. It’s characters are flawed but so are its viewers. Triumph can never truly be achieved without failures among the way and Joy embraces this to its fullest extent.