Over-emotional rubbish; that minus Jennifer Lawrence’s performance would be TV movie standard.

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Joy (2015), which unites director David O. Russell with his usual cast-members of Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, tells the “true story” of Joy, the inventor of the Miracle Mop… and to be honest it’s about exciting as the plot sounds.

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Jennifer Lawrence stars as the titular character and right from the start we are thrown into her hectic life as she tries to cope with a large family who are over-reliant on her. When she cuts her hand whilst wringing a mop, she has a genius idea and we follow her as she gambles everything to chase her dream. However the story just doesn’t carry any tension; it is a poorly paced character driven film without any characters. Each of Joy’s family appear to be caricatures rather than developed people and attempts at comedy are held back by this lack of depth.

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The film also looks over-stylised with an attempt to recreate an era that fails. The haircuts, clothes and sets feel cheap and obviously fake whilst the flat lighting does very little. The clunky dialogue also feels extremely forced and predictable. There is even the now seemingly standard scene where the protagonists cuts her own hair off in distress.  Whilst watching there where several moments when I honestly felt as if I was watching one of those made for TV dramas, not a $60 million film from an acclaimed director.

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Setting everything aside however the film maintains a degree of enjoyability purely based on the performance of Jennifer Lawrence, who salvages a wreckage with a mesmerising turn. Dominating every scene Lawrence turns the film into her own and once more proves herself to be a fantastic actress.

Lawrence’s performance, though strong as it is, is not enough to save the film from its other major faults.

 

4/10