Film Review: JOY

From Facebook, 18jan16:

We caught up with JOY today, the third film from director David O. Russell starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, following SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (for which Lawrence won an Oscar) and AMERICAN HUSTLE. It’s a story about a rural American housewife, in the late ’80s or so, who lives with two kids, an ailing grandmother who watches soap operas all day, and in the basement, her father and her lounge-singer ex-husband. She has a talent for inventiveness, and after an incident on a sailboat with her father’s new girlfriend (played by Isabelle Rossellini!), she conceives a kind of mop with a self-wringer handle. Her ex connects her with an exec at the QVC shopping channel to sell it on late-night TV. The initial pitch does badly; she insists on a second pitch with herself doing the pitch, and becomes wildly successful. To a point.

The story has a traditional plot arc: initial success, followed by challenges that threaten to destroy that success, in one two three fashion, until a final validation. The best scenes are showcases for the actors: especially Jennifer Lawrence, in later scenes where she confronts the people trying to take advantage of her; with Bradley Cooper as he shows off the QVC set and its production; with Isabelle Rossellini as the hard-headed business-women who’s eager to cut losses and declare bankruptcy. (Robert De Niro’s best line, “I gotta admit I’m kinda proud of you”, is in the trailer.)

My personal reaction is that this illustrates why I could never be a business person.

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