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by Jennifer Fiduccia

Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Robert De Niro (Rudy, Joy’s father), Bradley Cooper (Neil Walker, Joy’s eventual boss), Edgar Ramirez (Tony, Joy’s ex-husband), Isabella Rossellini (Trudy, Rudy’s girlfriend), Diane Ladd (Mimi, Joy’s grandmother), Virginia Madsen (Terry, Joys mother), and Elisabeth Röhm (Peggy, Joys half-sister)

Also making appearances that were notable to me were Susan Lucci as Danica, a character seen on the TV soap opera that Joys mother Terry is
constantly watching, and Melissa Rivers, playing her mother Joan Rivers on the TV channel QVC.

David O. Russel wrote, directed and produced the film, bringing the headliners back for yet another go ‘round, after the successes of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.

Joy is a divorced mother of 2, living in a house with her Grandmother Mimi, who she adores, her mother, who practically never leaves her room, her 2 kids, and her ex-husband in the basement. Shortly after the film begins, her father Rudy also moves into the basement.

Joy struggles through her life every day, never quite able to get ahead, and always just barely making ends meet. Her grandmother has big dreams
for her and insists that Joy will “rise above” and “make something” of her life, but Joy struggles to have faith, and indeed, to even begin to figure out how to go about such a seeming monumental task.

The story follows Joy and her family through somewhat ridiculous scenarios, and while it was acted well by Jennifer Lawrence, De Niro, and most of the rest of the cast, I had a hard time really getting into the film.

I kept finding myself wondering why Joys family wasn’t more supportive and why they all, with the exception of her Mimi and her ex-husband, seemed to be more trying to bring her down and keep her down, than giving her a boost and a push up. I always have liked Robert De Niro, but in this film found myself seriously disliking him. I suppose that speaks to his ability as an actor and being able to portray a role in which he is “supposed to be” less than 100% likeable.

Jennifer Lawrence as Joy shows tenaciousness, grit and a will to succeed and “rise above”, at least once she gets to the point in the film where she has “HAD ENOUGH” of being walked on and disregarded, and plays the part wonderfully.

I kept hoping to like the movie better, but sadly, also kept waiting for it to GET better.

I have to give this movie a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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