Joy Film Review


With New Year’s Resolutions quickly falling by the wayside and the January Blues reducing your productivity, Joy is exactly the film you need to inspire you. This story of hard work, determination, self-belief, courage and conviction is the heartfelt tale about believing in a dream and making it come true for anyone who needs this message.

Joy Mangano, played by Jennifer Lawrence, starts as a little girl with big ideas. She loves to invent things and create beautiful objects out of things around the house. With feuding and disinterested parents, it’s up to her grandmother who narrates the story and recognises her potential. Despite encouraging Joy to pursue her passion for inventing, Joy gets married, has three children, gets a divorce and has to live in a house that is falling apart with an ex-husband living in her basement, and a mother who is permanently glued to the TV in her bedroom. It is not until she designs of a genius invention that she gets back her creative spark and fights to turn her life around to help her family with an invention that we still use to this day, 25 years later.

Set in 1989, this semi-autobiographical drama find gives you a fascinating insight into the difficulties of being taken seriously in business as a woman and the lengths women had to go to in an attempt to overcome those prejudices. It also follows the beginning of TV shopping channels, the rise of QVC and the way consumer habits have evolved over the decades. It’s a rare gem of a story that sounds like an unlikely premise for a film but becomes more interesting than you would expect.

The star-studded cast including Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro instantly establishes this as a special film with a story that needed to be told but the stand out performance is undoubtedly Jennifer Lawrence who has just won a Golden Globe for her performance. Her convincing portrayal of an increasingly frustrated mother of three who has to support her parents and ex-husband in a house she can barely afford with so many repairs needed that she can hardly keep up, is incredible from the start. But it is the way she plays Joy’s shift from exhausted mother to determined and courageous inventor that truly sets her performance apart. You feel her anguish with every set back, financial loss and rejection, but you also feel her pride as she battles every obstacle to come out on top.

It may seem like just one woman with one dream who invents one ordinary, household item, but there are so many similar stories that have inspired and fuelled this story that you fully appreciate the purpose of the film.

Anyone that enjoys Dragon’s Den will love getting the full picture of the work that goes into designing, inventing, investing in and pitching a product, and it’s a fascinating insight that is very revealing and with great acting to boot.

A poignant and clever film to kick-start your January and motivate yourself with this heavy dose of inspiration.

4/5 stars

Elinore Court lives at Liberty House in London, she is studying a masters degree in Magazine Journalism at City University.

Related blog posts