So Joy is the first movie of awards season that I am reviewing even though I saw my favorite film of the year, so far, months ago, Straight Outta Compton. My review of this brilliant piece of film will soon follow but for now, Joy.
I will preface this with a bit of what has been going on in my world. My mother has recently moved out here to California with me! We have not lived in close proximity since I was 17 and so you can understand my excitement of having her near me, once again, for the simplest of things like going and seeing a movie with her on a random Monday.
Joy stars Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and you can guess the rest. Let me just say that I adore directors that use the same cast and crew; Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorcese and God willing Seth MacFarlane;) However, for some reason I feel that people are tiring of this David O’Russell trio. Why? Probably just jealousy because in my opinion it is a bit flawless or at least it has been in the past but the reunion in Joy just didn’t quite make sense to me and here is why.
- Jennifer Lawrence is too young to play this role. Yes Hollywood, too young. Yes, she is brilliant and she is both perfect and accessible. She is fierce and vulnerable and hands down is the best actress, the absolute best actress, of her generation but it is a little difficult to buy her as this worn out single mother with all of this downtrodden life experience at the ripe age of 24. So, as much as I adore David O’Russell, I am so bored with these directors not casting age appropriate leads. Women do lead lives past the age of 20 and are super hot, at that! Moving on.
- Bradley Cooper: I felt like he was just thrown a bone. (Not that he needs one so try throwing one to someone else!)
- Elizabeth Rohm-She is a force. I loved her in American Hustle and was excited to see her in Joy. The screenplay lacked in believability for me regarding the relationship between the sisters. You cannot have that much competition or “loss of love” between family without first showing the love to begin with. Maybe in real life you just cannot stand a sibling from birth? Maybe? But for filmic reasons, it is necessary to show why that relationship has deteriorated or we just don’t care or worse; we don’t believe. And, I certainly did not believe or invest in this sisterly rivalry, coming from the place of having two older sisters, the loss of relationship or lack thereof just was not ringing true for me. At all.
- The other reason is that that the movie is about a mop. I both love and hate this. Okay, it is not only about a mop but a woman’s rag to riches story but for me, the story didn’t dig enough to get to the grit of life as say The Fighter did. Yes, you get JLaw’s fierceness and this takes things far but not enough. It felt to me that things were cut and pasted and tried to salvage themselves. Just not an interesting enough movie for awards season and I don’t appreciate films gaining award attention because of the names attached. If this had been a film adorned with any other actors it would have fell by the wayside but because Ms. Lawrence is involved, suddenly it is a contender. I just wish Hollywood would look a bit further than its own intimate circle for nominees.
I left the theatre and the first thing I said to my mother when she asked me how I liked the film was, “There are very few actresses that can carry a movie about a mop. Jennifer Lawrence is one of them.” She is exciting, she is a force both in life and in career and I am so glad that she is an accessible role model for young girls everywhere. Hell, for young women everywhere.
Let us all hail JLaw and then tell her to take a friggin break and let some other actresses get some work! : )