Joy
 
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Joy

It’s awfully hard for me to not find some joy in this imperfect movie about a daring woman who digs deep and soars. You got a problem with that?

David O. Russell may feel like an improbable filmmaker to take on the sort of-kind of-maybe story of Joy Mangano, the broke single mother who created a mop and swept into entrepreneur big time. But in less adventurous hands, this rags to riches story could have been just another movie-of-the-week. With co-screenwriter Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids), this dramatic comedy smacks into a bunch bumps along the way, but it also hits some real moments of delight and true emotion.

The luminous Jennifer Lawrence stars and is supported by Russell troupe members Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, plus welcome additions Edgar Ramirez, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd and Isabella Rossellini. All the actors play with a joy themselves, bringing an energy to each scene that can’t be faked in an edit room. And while it may take a while for this unwieldy group to get its act together and finally get Joy and her mop on QVC, the eventual payoff, hard-earned and impressive, feels pretty darn sweet.

The end result may not be as wholly pretty or user friendly as one of Joy’s huggable hangers, but there are some pretty wonderful things along the way. Cooper’s sweeping introduction of his cable operation is a glorious salute to the pride we can take from our work. And Lawrence’s initial on camera performance, especially after we see what she’s gone through, is every bit as cheer-worthy as is Adonis Creed’s in the ring. I hope it’s not just women who will relate to and celebrate the story of a woman being true to her self, tapping into her potential and making it really, really big, but even if it is, I say, yay.

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