Joy 2016 ****

David O Russell may have found a place in mainstream cinema, but he’s a subversive deep down; who else would make a biopic about the inventor of a mop? And not just any mop, and not just any inventor; Joy Mangano promoted her own quick rinse mop on QVC, and the trials and tribulations she encountered make for an offbeat, ingenious watch. Jennifer Lawrence provides an empathetic centre; it’s notable that even when her American Hustle co-star Bradley Cooper turns up as a QVC exec, Joy never attempts to slide into rom-com sentiment. Joy Mangano is portrayed as in independent, headstrong woman who beats the system and wins the day on her own terms. And by treating the backstage goings-on of QVC as seriously as Martin Scorsese treats the day-to-day activities of the Mafia, Joy subverts ideas about what a bio-pic should be and comes up with something fresh and original.


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