Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher


I do understand how Joy could be polarizing.

I like David O. Russell's genre-bending, film-on-the-fly sensibilities.  Maybe if I had told you beforehand that Joy is an updated Cinderella as told by a bi-polar person with AD/HD you might have received it a little better.  DOR combines Robert Altman's dialogue, Martin Scorsese's narratives, Christopher Guest's multiple-trial improvisations, and Frank Capra's human idealism into a unique style. 

NEGATIVES: The dysfunctional family dynamic of the first 20 minutes was too chaotic for me.  The dream sequences and the soap opera as substitute for life metaphor I enjoyed, but I can see why how they could seem jarring and clunky.

POSITIVES:  The message of the power of friendship through the undying loyalty of Joy's ex-husband and childhood friend Jackie; the female empowerment, "I don't need a prince" feminist anthem; the rags-to-riches success story--these things were heartening and inspiring.  The excellent cast gave honest, terrific performances, led by Jennifer Lawrence's restrained, nuanced Joy that carried the film on her shoulders.

Critics were split along gender lines (males averaged 53%, females 85%) and age (older critics like Richard Roeper, A.O. Scott, and Sasha Stone were positive about Joy while millenials, in their typical herd mentally, rated it harshly). 

I've seen all but one of DOR's movies, and I've liked all of them. Silver Linings Playbook (one of my all-time favorite films), The Fighter, and American Hustle were better, but I rate Joy a solid B, and I believe history will treat it well.

8 out of 10
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