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2016

Jennifer Lawrence as Joy
Robert De Niro as Rudy
Edgar Ramirez as Tony
Bradley Cooper as Neil Walker
Directed and Written by David O. Russell

Jennifer Lawrence is nominated for the Best Actress Oscar ®.

Joy is a harried, single, working mother. Her house is full of her family, both blood (grandmother, mother, and two kiddos, plus her dad, who’s divorced from mom and lives in the basement) and estranged (her ex-husband lives in the basement, too). Most of them have no idea what Joy is capable of, and are perfectly happy letting her take care of them: Mom doesn’t leave her room or her soaps, even when pipes burst and leak through the floor boards; her kids are both small, so they get a bye here; her father keeps moving in and out, depending on who he’s married to or dating, and Joy takes care of the books for his business. Only Mimi, her grandmother, can sense the genius Joy possesses, deep underneath her love for and obligation to her family. Mimi knows that Joy is going to leave her mark on the world, and wants nothing more than for her to realize her genius.

This is a story about the struggle of a person to do what they must in order to find a way to do what they can. Joy’s character is an amalgamation of many people, and they are all inspiring. Apparently, according to IMDb.com, her family is also a mish-mash, but they are not so positive. The whole time I watched this film (with about 6 other people at a mid-day matinee; I love small town theaters sometimes!), I wanted Joy to just up and go. Literally anywhere. What a horrid group of whiners and takers! But she loves them, and so she puts up with them. That right there is worth mention, because I would have a really hard time being the bigger person when everyone is against me.

I was very happy to see a story about how hard life can be, and how even though we want to bail and run away, there’s just no way to do it, so we suck it up and soldier on. Joy teaches us that through perseverance and believing in your own dreams (and accepting that your family sucks, but they’re still there, so you deal), you can create an amazing life for yourself. So: lesson learned. Get out there and DO IT.

Weepy Meter: 5/10 There’s really nothing you can do about it when someone is beat down so many times from so many angles, then they finally realize success. It’s emotional, but not sappy.

Man Meter: 4/10 Not one he’d watch alone, but if he’s a film addict and appreciates good storytelling, he’ll go. If you get beers afterwards.

Overall Rating: 7/10 I was inspired, and I gained perspective on my own struggles. Probably won’t watch it again, even though Lawrence was fantastic. She kicks so much ass.  I want to turn her loose on all the haters in the world and watch them BURN.

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