*** out of ****
Joy tells a potentially banal story about the inventor of the self-wringing Miracle Mop, Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence). It escalates the nature of the material through auteur David O. Russell’s taste for rapid dialogue and a dreamlike energy that kept me engaged until the final act lost its surreal touch and the ending scene awkwardly exists out of obligation to tell a complete story. The Super 35mm cinematography and the various music choices help to capture Mangano’s blue-collar suburban life in a grand context, and the performances are full of that spontaneity we so rarely get from movies.
Aside from her third go-round with this eccentric director, Lawrence has completed her star-making work with The Hunger Games series. I am excited to see that she is collaborating with Amy Schumer on a comedy film, which could be the kind of radical move needed to refresh her already impressive career.