Joy is odd. That is literally the best way to describe it. The trailers didn’t quite explain or pitch what the film was going to be about beyond the premise that Jennifer Lawrence was going to overcome hardship and deal with an annoying/rough family. Fair enough. Part of the joy *errr*, fun of the film is that its quite absurdist in some ways.
Joy Mangano is a woman who looks after her family, very much the extreme homemaker, and very much by force. She has a mother who doesn’t know how to stop watching soap operas, two children, a grandmother and divorced husband leeching in the basement, joined by her father. Its a comical opening sequence that I noticed did not set the tone for the film. It was faced paced and varying colours per room and its wonderfully framed and lovingly shot.
The following 30 minutes are an odd and confused set of diversions, flashbacks to rushedly explain character relationships and surreal dream sequeneces of no consequence and somewhere about 45 minutes in, the film decides to explain the premise, that Joy takes control of her life with her daring invention of the Miracle Mop. I went into this having pretty certainly seen the trailer, and I don’t want to admit it, but this did feel like a bombshell. The plot of the entire film is set in motion from this.
It does not make the film any less enjoyable, and Lawrence and Devito both have multilayered performances. The characters feel very real, which, they should, this being based on a true story. Whilst it is entirely valid to have a story that doesn’t limt itself to a single-tone of storytelling, it does leave the audience in doubt of exactly which story from the many subplots we’re supposed to be focused on. Is this about her revolutionary invention or awesome journey to leading in business? Is it about her relationship with her sister, her father, her mother or her grandmother the most? I know it does not need to be one, but in its fluctuating tones and strands of story, it fails to find its feet and keep us engaged by any of the subplots.
Yet, despite this, you will find yourself crying about a man’s inability to sell a woman’s revoltionary mop design. There’s something quite fun about the film, and luckily, you will not find Oscar-baiting hee, but no-one I know quite knows what they did find.