The Big Screen: Joy
I love me some J Lawr.
I love me some Bradley Cooper.
I love this trailer and what it promises.
Sadly though, Joy just didn't quite hit the mark for me.
Things that worked for me:The cinematography--particularly the sense of place it created. From Texas to their home in PA, to the set at HSN, I loved the sense of place in this movie. (The only part I didn't love was when Joy looks into the mirror, I was like, here we go, a hair cutting emotional breakthrough scene.)
The acting--Jennifer Lawrence was wonderful, per usual. Bradley Cooper was also really great, though I would have liked to see a bit more of him and he didn't have much of an arc. Dascha Polanco was wonderful, genuine, and real as Joy's best friend. She has great heart that comes across on screen. Diane Ladd as the narrator/Joy's grandmother was lovely. I liked Édgar Ramírez as Joy's ex-husband. He was handsome and silly and likable and said the things you were thinking as the plot progressed. Elisabeth Röhm as Joy's undermining half-sister Peggy was really hateful and interesting to watch (although, she seemed out of place in her costume. Too pretty for it or something).
The soundtrack--I really liked the soundtrack to this movie. It did a nice job of moving the plot along.
Things did not work for me:
The soap opera bits. I liked the soap opera touch because it's so easy to relate to (my grandmother loved her stories... and I had fun sitting on the couch with her when I was visiting and watching them, too!), but wow. It was super overdone. It was more in line with Joy's mom's psyche than on Joy's, and I wasn't that interested in her mom. I found her mom weird and uninteresting.
The plot/character arcs didn't focus on the pieces I was most interested in. I wanted to know more about the struggle to get the business going, I wanted to get more into her relationship with Bradley Cooper and the surprising turn toward the adversarial that wasn't explained much at the end, I wanted to see more of Joy's company when it was successful and the fight she had with her dad and sister when they tried to sue her for part of her company. I wanted to know more about her friendship with Jackie and what it was like working together. I was just less interested in the story they did tell--Joy as an airline attendant, Joy meeting and marrying her ex-husband and the way their relationship fell apart, Joy as she struggled to support her whole family. I felt like the stuff I'd find more compelling just wasn't in the story. I also wish we got more from Joy about her despair, frustration, and elation when it worked. I loved when she triumphed over the stupid man in Dallas and stood up to the workers in California. I wanted more of her emotions and her arc.
Isabella Rosselini just didn't hit the mark for me. And while I liked Robert DeNiro and Virginia Madsen as Joy's estranged parents, I felt like they began to edge into the land of stereotypes and plated roles that didn't have any depth to them so I wasn't interested in them.
For me, plot is really important and character arc. Since both missed the mark in my opinion, this wasn't my favorite new movie.