"I want you to remember something, because a lot of times people get nice things and they start to think differently, we got here from hard work, patience and humility, so I want to tell you, Don't ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn't. The world doesn't owe you a thing." ~ Joy Mangano, JOY The Movie
It is not the most flattering depiction of her family that's for sure with a few exceptions - her grandmother (played by Diane Ladd), and surprisingly her ex-husband (played by Edgar Ramirez) prove to be her truest allies as well as Neil Walker of QVC who gave Joy her first shot in the home shopping television retail experience (played by Bradley Cooper) . But her mom (played by Virginia Madsen), dad (played by Robert De Niro), half sister (played by Elizabeth Rohm) and Dad's Girlfriend (played by Isabella Rossellini) were more of a hindrance than a help and there is one scene in particular that made me want to smack her Dad AND his girlfriend;s teeth out their face! (So I guess they were playing the part quite well! LOL)
A surprise stand-out was Melissa Rivers who played her mom Joan in the QVC scenes, it was so spot on it was almost eerie! And I have no doubt her mom would be proud.
But while the story was compelling, I am sad to say that I don't feel this was Jennifer Lawrence's best work. You would think 'Katniss' could pull off playing a strong woman who overcomes the odds against her to build her own empire (I mean really right, sound familiar?), but she doesn't. Jennifer didn't do the role any justice in my opinion. It felt like she was 'walking through it' and I wasn't quite sure if it just didn't resonate with her, but she kind of has this vapid, valley of the dolls type of expression on her face most of the movie that didn't really fit what was happening to the character. Joy went through some deep lows to get to her ultimate high, a high that from what we see at the end is a bit bittersweet, and Jennifer just didn't convey what was happening in a way that hit home.
As this is a bio-pic, even in my 'pro film critic' days (have I mentioned how that was one of my favorite times ever as a professional writer?), I can't comfortably give a review on this movie - this isn't a ticket or skip it type of movie - this is a true story that is still un-folding, I can only comment on the acting and how the family on the whole is portrayed in the film. I wish Jennifer would have put the life she puts into her performances in the Hunger Games movie franchise into this movie. Katniss isn't real, Joy Mangano is - and in many ways she is just as tough as Katniss - but Jennifer just doesn't give you that.
The movie is an inspiration to all entrepreneurs, Joy overcomes tremendous odds - both from the outside world and her inner own circle and fights hard to achieve her success. And even in the face of financial ruin, picks herself up and goes to bat again, while the movie was released over Christmas it is such an empowering story that it's perfect to catch this first week of the New Year when you are pumped up, armed with your list of goals and resolutions and raring to go! (I may be singing along to Mary Mary's Go Get Your Blessing Right Now!)
What female entrepreneur do you most admire and why? Do you own a Joy Mangano Product? (I love her huggable hangers and I haven't yet tried the Miracle Mop but I would like to!)
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