Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
placeholder article
placeholder article

‘Joy’ Film Review

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MMM chapter.
Rating: 5/5

“I want you to remember something; because a lot of times, people get nice things, and they start to think differently. We got here from hard work, patience, and humility. So I want to tell you, don’t ever think that the world owes you anything – because it doesn’t. The world doesn’t owe you a thing.” – Joy

The film Joy tells the real life story of Joy Mangano, the self-made millionaire who created her business empire and multiple inventions. It was released in theaters on Christmas and was nominated for several awards. The biographical dramedy stars Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper, who all give top notch performances. This is one for the books, and one can watch it countless times. Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globe for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her fantastic and moving performance. She also scored an Oscar nomination.

The plot revolves around Joy, a divorced mother of three in the 90s who is struggling as a working mother. She is in the process of obtaining patents for her inventions in hopes of taking them mainstream. Joy went on to invent the Miracle Mop, which was an overnight success. She went on to sell numerous more of her inventions on the Home Shopping Network and QVC.

Joy was always an intelligent woman and her future was bright and full of endless opportunities. She was valedictorian of her graduating class and was accepted into a fancy college. However, her plans were derailed because her parents were going through a divorce and she stayed behind with them. As the story unfolds we learn about her personal and professional struggles and how she overcame them.

Family dynamic and dysfunction is a huge part of the storyline. This aspect of the film truly resonates with viewers and makes them feel as if they are not alone. Everyone can relate to Joy in one-way or another, because we all have families and dreams. Joy’s mother cares for her deeply, but is a bit eccentric. She is an introvert who stays home all day watching soap operas and is frightened of the world and the people in it. Joy’s father on the other hand, runs a business, which Joy does the accounting for. However, he goes through wives quite frequently and when they leave him he goes back to staying with Joy – until he gets a new girlfriend. It’s evident he wants what is best for his daughter, but sometimes he is harsh and cold. For example, on her wedding day, he proclaimed in his toast, in front of everyone, that he only gave it 50/50 odds of surviving. Before she walked down the aisle he said to her, “You’re so beautiful. You could’ve married anybody. Could’ve married a doctor, a lawyer or a nice man. Instead of this; I don’t even know what to call this guy.”

 On the flip side, it was his girlfriend, played by Isabella Rossellini, who invested in Joy’s company and inventions. When there were issues that arose her father told her, “It’s my fault. I gave her the confidence to believe she was more than just an unemployed housewife.” Joy’s relationship with his daughter, her half-sister, is also estranged. However, the voice of reason is Joy’s grandmother, who also serves as the narrator. She is the hope in the story, a character that warms audience’s hearts and makes them feel connected to the film. She is the one who always instilled in Joy that she could be whoever she wanted to be and that she would achieve all of her wildest dreams. We all need that one person in our life that believes in us and is present. When you have that you can take on the whole world. This is what the film Joy does for viewers – makes you feel as though you can accomplish and achieve anything.

Director, David O. Russell, has outdone himself again with this fantastic film about business, female power, family life, love, and, ultimately, joy. Fans will enjoy this film as much as they did his previous box office hits, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. Those films also starred Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, as does this one. O. Russell also wrote the film, creating a screenplay that is fresh and riveting.

As a female, it is utterly empowering to watch. Joy was taken advantage of in business because she is a woman. However, she stands her ground and, in doing so, paved the way for women all over the world to run their own successful businesses. A company tried to cheat Joy out of money and they told her she could pay more. In return she told him flat out, “I can’t and I won’t.” In the world of business, people are sharks and it’s an industry that is full of betrayal. When you’re a female, you have extra burdens to tackle. It’s incredibly touching to see that despite all of this, Joy remained perseverant and humble. Those are two things we should never lose in life, despite how much success we may achieve. I recommend everyone watches Joy to experience what it really means to have joy in your life.

Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Katie Gray


Katie Gray. Marymount Manhattan College. Double Major: Communications & Media Arts and Business with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. Double Minor: Journalism and Fashion Studies. Personal Website: www.xoxokatiegray.com Social Media: @xoxokatiegray
Paige, originally from Nashville, TN, is currently a senior at Marymount Manhattan College majoring in Communication Arts with a minor in Journalism. Paige has held internships at two PR firms, Decider.com, MTV News, and has been a Contributing Writer for USA Today College. She is currently interning at Decider.com for a second time. Maroon 5, movie going, reading, cupcakes, Pinterest, and NYC are some of her favorite things. Contact her at paigegawley@hercampus.com or visit her website,www.paigegawley.com.