Release date: Dec. 13, 2015

Directed by: David O. Russell

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Édgar Ramírez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Bradley Cooper

Budget: $60 million

Box office: $101.1 million


Divorced mother Joy Mangano goes into business for herself.

Joy is a mediocre film where the only memorable aspects to be found are Lawrence’s and Cooper’s acting. The former is able to pull off the demeanor of someone who has consistently been a longsuffering mother to her kids and caretaker to a mother who just won’t listen along with the dogged determination of someone trying to make something of themselves. However, even though she is able to present a good disposition, Lawrence seems to be unable to find a sweet spot and ends up underacting or overacting through most of the film. Cooper, on the other hand, is the best actor in the film, doing well as the barrier between someone who believes they have an interesting idea and the salespeople who present it to the public.  

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Every other character in this film is incredibly generic too. Mangano’s immediate family consists of parents who exist only to bring her down and a half-sister, characterized as an overachiever, depicted as working to sabotage and subverting everything Mangano does. Further, her ex-husband is presented as one of the few people who actually cares, despite being a deadbeat, and her best friend is the other person who cares, never leaving Mangano’s side. Characters such as these have all been presented in similar films before and this one does nothing with them. Instead, they’re just there in their own bland roles.

The biggest flaw in the film, though, is it’s named after and begins as a story revolving around the life of inventor and entrepreneur Mangano. Yet, it winds up becoming undistinctive in every possible way. The main issue is how the filmmakers turned it into a combination of the lives of various women who decided they were going to do something with themselves and drastically changed their lives. What the audience is ultimately given is a film which begins as a story about Mangano that does nothing but lump her in with other successful women. As such, it doesn’t do justice to either Mangano’s story or the story of the other women.

This film is boring and barely has anything making it worth watching.



AARP Movies for Grownups Awards

  • Best Supporting Actress (Diane Ladd)

Capri, Hollywood Awards

  • Capri Original Screenplay Award

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (Jennifer Lawrence)

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best Teaser

  • Best Teaser

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie Actress: Drama (Jennifer Lawrence)

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress (13 and Under) (Isabella Crovetti)



AARP Movies for Grownups Awards

  • Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro)

Academy Awards

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Jennifer Lawrence)

American Cinema Editors, USA - Eddie Awards

  • Best Edited Feature Film - Comedy

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Production Design Award - Contemporary Film

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)

  • Best Comedy

  • Best Actress in a Comedy (Jennifer Lawrence)

Casting Society of America, USA - Artios Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Big Budget Feature - Comedy

Costume Designers Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Contemporary Film

Denver Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Comedy Film

Detroit Film Critics Society, US

  • Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)

  • Best Ensemble

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Best Actress of the Year (Jennifer Lawrence)

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Most Original

Imagen Foundation Awards

  • Best Supporting Actor - Feature Film (Édgar Ramírez)

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • True Story

  • Best Female Performance (Jennifer Lawrence)

Phoenix Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Comedy Film

  • Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jennifer Lawrence)