Joy [2015] ★★½

 Joy-PosterCritics and audiences were raving about director David O. Russell’s previous movies when they opened a few years ago. But it seems that things aren’t exactly going his way this time around. That’s not to say that “Joy” is a bad movie. Far from it. For one, O. Russell has as good an eye for casting as anyone, and his leading roles are well filled by Jennifer Lawrence (who is excellent as the title character), Robert DeNiro, Virginia Madsen, Bradley Cooper and Isabella Rossellini. All these good actors bring out all the colors in O.Russell’s dramatic, often funny screenplay. With all these good ingredients it’s a shame that “Joy” runs out of steam after a while. I still had a good time watching Lawrence play a struggling woman who is trying to raise her kids with no money and no help from anyone. She also has to deal with her mother, who watches soap operas in her room all day, her ex husband who lives in her basement, and her father, who rarely shows her love and support. Director David O. Russell knows exactly how to get the best from his actors. But the main attraction in “Joy” is Lawrence, and the film serves as a prime showcase for her talent (hence the Golden Globe nomination). Unfortunately, our reward isn’t as great as it ought to be. As much as I had a good time watching this amusing film, I can’t say I fell in love with it.

Rating: 2.5/4

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