It was hard to imagine exactly the angle David O. Russell would be going for with Joy, the film loosely based on Joy Mangano, the woman who invented the Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers and Forever Fragrant: would it be a straightforward semi-inspirational biopic à la La Vie en Rose, but where the cathartic moment of swelling artistry came from the construction “of the original cotton self-wringing mop that’ll clean that mess again and again and again?” Likely not (I’ve been told, in fact, that it’s “not a biopic”).Would Jennifer Lawrence, who’d be playing the eponymous character, be asked to carry the movie with another Long Island caricature, as in her (excellent, but deliberately exaggerated) performance in American Hustle? Hopefully not.
With the just-released (but generously two-minute) teaser trailer, what’s abundantly clear is that, above all else, this is very much a David O. Russell film — over-the-top and unpredictable, yet superlatively sensitive.
As per the official synopsis, “Joy is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right.”
With the camera ceaselessly sweeping around all sorts of beautifully lit moments of youthful joy and hardship, it looks to — somehow resisting corniness — explore how the dramas of how the character’s adolescence may have fueled her desire to become a successful entrepreneur. On top of that is its seeming rambunctious acknowledgement of the bizarrerie of the home shopping world (Bradley Cooper plays an executive of the Home Shopping Network), and the sometimes frightening notion of what it takes to have social and professional mobility in America. (The trailer’s final image is Joy stoically practicing shooting while introducing herself, her cheerful name juxtaposed against her steely stance…and massive gun).
The film also stars Robert De Niro, Édgar Ramírez, Dascha Polenco, Isabella Rossellini, and Virginia Madsen.
Watch the trailer:
The film is set for release December 25. 2015.