Joy (2016, David O. Russell)

*sigh* Christmas is over, my birthday isn't until October and my first proper holiday of the year isn't until late May, what the hell is there to get excited about now? OH SHIT YH IT'S OSCAR SEASON! Because I'm an idiot I decided to cancel my Cineworld card recently (well, not really, there's not one close to me anymore so it makes sense) so I have until 14th Jan to cram in as many movies as possible before I have to start paying for movies as I go like a schmuk.

ANYWAY, to kick off this most wonderful of seasons, I went to see Joy, the latest offering from director David O. Russell. Honestly, I've not been a HUGE fan of his past recent films. Like, they're good, and fun to watch at the time, but they're not the kind of films I get the urge to watch again, and it's been over a year since seeing them now, so I guess that speaks for itself.

Playing to his strengths, and by strengths I mean his tried and tested combination of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper accompanied by a quirky pseudo-retro style, O' Russell presents the rags-to-riches tale of Joy Mangano, inventor of the self-wringing mop and the first non-celebrity presenter to grace the stage at home shopping channel QVC. Constantly set back and hindered by her heartbreakingly frustrating yet ultimately well-meaning family, Joy maintains her vigour and self-belief by knocking back every obstacle the universe throws at her in her battle for success, settling many an injustice along the way.

As is my opinion on O. Russell's other recent films, Joy is definitely a case of style over substance and whilst the characters are complicated, inspiring and delightfully frustrating there just doesn't seem to be quite enough going on to tip this one over the edge for me. Gems like Joy's father (Robert DeNiro) and his new girlfriend Trudy (Isabella Rossellini), who are enjoyably agonising to watch with their consistent passive aggression and bad advice, are offset by duds, like Joy's daytime soap obsessed mother (Virginia Madsen) who appears to exist as nothing more than an easy segway into Joy's stylised daydreams. And whilst these are interesting to look at when you take a step back it's hard not to see these as padding for a story quite lacking in substance.

That said, I pretty much haven't stopped thinking about this movie since seeing it. I have so many questions. How can a film be so simultaneously inspiring and terrifying? How can one person have so much patience? How did Joy not murder these awful humans around her? How did they manage to make 'Joan Rivers' look so damn convincing? For me, Joy was thought-provoking from start to finish. From the trailer I thought I'd be seeing a more legal-battle focused movie, but what I actually got was an inspiring story of innovation, determination and how, above all, patience is the ultimate virtue.

I don't think we'll see this one taking away a coveted golden statue this year but it's definitely one to watch if you have a spare couple of hours.

Have you seen Joy yet? If so, what were your thoughts? Are you hyped for Oscar season? I can't wait to get a few more ticked off of my list this week, hopefully seeing The Danish Girl before the week is out! As always, thank you so much for reading, let me know what you thought, I'd love to have a chat!



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