David O. Russell has a genuine knack for ‘dysfunctional family stories’, be it in Silver Linings Playbook or in American Hustle. He also has a special liking for Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and I’m not complaining.
Joy (Jennifer) has the most well synced-dysfunctional and disturbed family members. Mother who hasn’t left the home and is hooked onto her favourite (Very Balaji) daily soap for 8 years. Father (De Niro) who is a cynic and a careless womaniser. Well, De Niro was so good at how much ever he got to do that I often didn’t know whether to love him or get annoyed by his character.
Joy, like most of us, had dreams in her childhood, dreams that got crushed because of family responsibilities, her broken marriage and her mundane and tiring job. Dreams that her Mimi, her grandma, saw and preserved and well, also, narrated.
I never divide a film between it’s first half and second half, I see it as a whole. But Joy fell apart in the second half and I couldn’t help but notice.
Although, Bradley tried his best to save it.
It was exciting to see a woman entrepreneur – no regular office politics, no obvious falling in love, no sobbing over being weak or a feminist.
BUT, there were overly dramatic obvious moments in the film, ‘Chopping one’s locks off’ to show ‘transformation’. Or the Grandma’s narration and the fact that Bradley’s character ‘Neil’ was so underused. There were no deep connections made. And Joy never snapped at her super mean family. They’re so rude to her, man! I would have loved to see her blow some steam at them. Although, the mopping scenes were so intriguing. I really like her acting skills.
I love the little girl who plays her daughter in the film.
Joy wants a happily ever after, as she didn’t see her parents have one. She had me in tears when she’s on the verge of quitting her unbearable marriage and she tells her husband, sobbing, “I don’t want to end up like my family.”
I loved Joy till the first half. I wish the storyteller would have continued the same in the second half.
P.S: Bradley Cooper is yummy!