I rather like David O. Russell as a Director, even if he is inclined to quirkiness. Silver Linings Playbook was a surprise to me (I knew nothing about it, other than that it had been acclaimed) and I really enjoyed American Hustle. So I was keen to see Joy when it came out.
And it’s another, really enjoyable film. Russell clearly likes this group of actors – Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert de Niro – and they seem to enjoy what he gives them to do.
The story of the downtrodden housewife who invents the Miracle Mop and then appears on the fledgling QVC to sell it is interesting, potentially inspiring, as Joy tackles the many challenges in her way. We follow her through moments of pain, despair, revelation and exhilaration, and Jennifer Lawrence is completely convincing throughout.
Bradley Cooper’s arrival in the movie is brilliantly handled – we’re waiting for him to appear (we know he’s in it, his name’s in the credits) but Russell holds him back. And then he takes over the film for the next 30 minutes (or at least, splits the screen ownership with Lawrence).
Like many films it feels a little too long – I would say that maybe it’s my age, but I quite happily sat through three hours of The Hateful Eight (which won’t be getting a write-up here – I’m only covering films I see at Cineworld, and Cineworld irritatingly fell out with the distributors and refused to screen it).
But Joy was a lot of fun.