Monday, 4 January 2016

Joy (4 Stars)

"Joy" is the true story of the American inventor and self-made millionaire, Joy Mangano. It shows that a woman can do anything she wants if she has the intelligence to develop new ideas and the determination to put those ideas into practice.

Joy was born in 1956 in New York. Despite showing great intelligence as a child her poor roots caught up with her and she seemed destined to a life of mediocrity. When she was in her 30's she was a single mother who shared a house with her children, her mother and her grandmother. Joy allowed her ex-husband to live in the cellar. When her mother's ex-husband was thrown out by his new wife he was also allowed to share the cellar. That was nice of her. The women lived up top, while the men were tucked away under the ground where they couldn't do any harm.

In 1990 Joy had an idea for a revolutionary new mop. It was more absorbent than conventional mops, it could be wrung dry without using your hands, and the mop head could be washed in the washing machine. She set up production in her father's car repair shop. The first mops were sold privately, but then she linked up with the newly founded home shopping television channel QVC, where it was branded the Miracle Mop.

It wasn't easy to succeed. As soon as Joy had her idea and it was obviously a success she was exposed to the harsh realities of the business world. In particular, she had to deal with men who wanted to profit from her ideas, even to the extent of bankrupting her. There were false claims that her mop design had already been patented, and the manufacturing company pushed their prices up. This is where Joy's true strength was revealed. Whatever happened, however many setbacks there were, she didn't back down.

Jennifer Lawrence does an admirable job of portraying Joy Mangano. Robert De Niro appears as her father. One of my few criticisms of the film is the comedy in the early scenes, mainly focussing on Joy's relationship with her father. It's true, Robert De Niro is an excellent comedy actor, but I found the comedy out of place. The film didn't get into its stride until it became serious after the first half hour.

Joy Mangano and Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence is a beautiful actress, but don't you think that Joy Mangano looks stunning at 59? Many feminists are misguided and think of female beauty as something negative, probably as a backlash against the dumb blondes who use their good looks because they have nothing else. Joy Mangano shows that a woman can be intelligent, powerful and beautiful.

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