FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

No Joy in Joy: 124 minutes of mess

By Catherine Knowles
Thu 17 Dec 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Don’t go into this movie with any expectations because it will disappoint you. It’s flawed, messy and more irritating than it needed to be. That said, there are far worse ways to spend 124 minutes.

David O’Russell’s latest film tells the story of Joy Mangano, a real life entrepreneur, inventor, businesswoman and mother.

You could say the film follows the trials and tribulations of her first business venture, but I would say it’s more of an overarching look at this formidable character. Formidable, at least, when played by Jennifer Lawrence.

Lawrence dominates the film, as she tends to do. This is my least favourite role of hers, but she undeniably brought Joy to life and made her believable amidst the mess and theatrics.

While some say Lawrence is overrated, and it’s true she seemed to be everywhere all at once, she’s good at what she does and this film would have fallen apart without her.

Lawrence leads a mixed cast consisting of Robert De Niro as her father, Edgar Ramirez as her ex-husband/friend/advisor (this combination works in the most touching way), Dascha Polanco as her best friend, Diane Ladd as her grandmother, and Bradley Cooper as a businessman.

Oh and Isabella Rossellini makes an appearance as Joy’s father’s girlfriend and her first financial backer.

Polanco and Ramirez were solid and Ladd wasn’t half bad. Cooper and De Niro have, at least in what I’ve seen recently, fallen into the habit of playing themselves and I would rather watch my screensaver. My screensaver is black.

Even so, most of the characters made valiant attempts to keep this film moving - but they were bailing out a sinking ship with broken teacups. Lawrence, bucket in hand, kept those splintering ruins mostly above water.

At the centre of the action, she led the madness and the mess and made sure this whole thing didn’t fall into chaos. Although it got close.

Dramatic, haphazard and overwrought, at times I felt like I was watching a bad play. The dialogue was so far from how real humans speak, the camera would linger for years on one person’s face, the grandmother narrated for no apparent reason all in hushed tones, sentences would be cut off mid-way through, and every now and then it would divert off to dreams, flashbacks, or imagination.

The construction of the film was so obvious - you could almost hear the whirring of the theatrics and the director yelling out “enter stage left”. Or at least him saying, “No I’m bored of this movie being a family drama, let’s take it to a sepia-toned flashback.”

I thought about the real Joy, hoped they would let the story speak for itself, wished they would take the schizophrenic kid away from the soundtrack so we could listen to more than 26 seconds of a song, and wondered where I could get a stiff drink.

But somewhere along the way I started to be drawn in by this character who was so goddamn resilient.

The dramatics weren’t quite so grating. I was more okay with being forced into another weird dream land, to look at a character’s minute facial expressions, listen to another clunky sentence. Even the end, which was utterly weird and unnecessary and made Joy into a plastic robot, could be tolerated.

I put my growing enjoyment at the hands of two things. One, you can get used to most things after a while, particularly when you remember what a joy (pun and irony intended) it is to go to the movies. Two, I loved getting to know this woman.

The young girl who loved making things, the mother working against a hundred things every day, and the woman launching her own business and taking on corporate America in the process.

As a by-product of being a theatrical Hollywood movie the story is glamorised, but it does reveal someone who forged their own path when everyone, even those with the best intentions, was saying both overtly and subtly their dreams were preposterous.

The camera zooms in on De Niro’s face, the lights dim, and he says his well-rehearsed line with a woeful look on his face, “It’s my fault, I gave her the confidence to think she was more than just an unemployed housewife.”

In the darkness of a wardrobe door her grandmother tells her that she was destined for great things, but first she needs to get married to a nice man and have some kids.

When Joy does experience success, it's in more of a real way than you usually see on-screen, especially in this sort of film. 

It's not a simple case of having an idea, brainstorming like a fiend with your daughter’s crayons, building something from scratch, catching a big break and living happily ever after.

It’s wins and losses, highs and lows, and it doesn’t end with a pat on the back and a big fat cake with a cherry on top. This movie shows life is gritty, and if you want to do something different you’ll have to be a bit mad and headstrong and everyone in your life will doubt you. But resolute strength will see you through and keep you alive.

So yes, I thought it could have done without trying quite so hard and being quite so irritating, but no, it wasn’t the worst. I started out frustrated but left the cinema excited to be a badass woman.

JLaw, call me, let’s get wine and take over the world. Oh and maybe bring your son since you ignored him during the whole movie.

2/5

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Could New Zealanders initiate a cyber attack from within?
The threat landscape is significantly increasing worldwide, and the opportunities it presents are a growing concern in Aotearoa.
Story image
PIJF
The path to bolstering supply chain security in New Zealand
A significant amount of today's business and leisure activity relies on IT supply chains. From complex international freight trades to local small business distribution channels, any supply chain that involves IT infrastructure serves as a crucial tool in our daily lives. 
Story image
Digital Transformation
SAP partners with New Zealand Rugby for digital transformation
The multi-year partnership will see SAP advance NZR with its organisational operations, team performance, fan experience and sustainability goals.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft NZ and TupuToa to boost diversity in cybersecurity sector
Microsoft NZ has teamed up with TupuToa to co-develop a cyber security employment programme specifically aimed at creating more diversity in Aotearoa's cybersecurity sector.
Story image
i-PRO
i-Pro announces newest solutions as rebranded enterprise
i-PRO APAC Oceania has introduced its newest high-resolution mid-range cameras, with combined edge AI analytics and resolutions of up to 4K.
Story image
TUANZ
TUANZ to address rural connectivity at 2022 symposium
TUANZ is hosting the Rural Connectivity Symposium for the first time in person since 2019, providing a forum to discuss the state of rural connectivity.
Story image
D-Link
D-Link launches new G415 Smart Router as part of EAGLE PRO AI range
D-Link A/NZ has announced the launch of its new G415 AX1500 4G Smart Router as part of the new EAGLE PRO AI Series.
Story image
Corsair
Hands-on review: Corsair 32GB Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM kit
Corsair’s Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM offers PC users an entry-level upgrade to the new memory standard allowing them to get a little bit more out of their new Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
Poly
Poly introduces new smart devices and announces Amazon e-store in Australia
Poly is introducing two new pro-grade devices to the market and announcing its first official Australian e-store on Amazon.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless and Aerox 5 gaming mice
Steelseries offered two interesting mice for review, the Aerox 9 Wireless, aimed at MMO/MOBA players, and the Aerox 5, a wired mouse for multi-genre use.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: The A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console
Retro Games, the UK outfit responsible for a range of retro gaming devices from joystick to full-sized Vic-20s and C64 emulators, have launched their A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console.
Story image
Logitech
Logitech releases new mouse with ergonomic and sustainable focus
Logitech has announced the Logitech Signature M650 Mouse and the Signature M650 for Business Wireless Mouse, both with new ergonomic features and capabilities.
Story image
Collaboration
TikTok launches community-inspired effect capability
TikTok has announced the launch of its Effect House feature to allow its users to create and share Community Effects.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 32GB PNY XLR8 Gaming MAKO 6000MHz DDR5 memory kit
PNY’s XLR8 Gaming MAKO DDR5 memory modules are designed to get the most out of systems based on Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Story image
Phishing
WhatsApp and QR codes the next scam threat - report
KnowBe4 has warned it expects to see an increase in QR Codes and the WhatsApp chat platform being used for phishing and other scams. 
Story image
Norton
Hands-on review: Norton Anti Track 19 software
We get hands on with Norton's new privacy tool that was introduced in March 2022.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
First Table
First Table set to revive restaurant commerce in NZ with platform launch
A new restaurant booking platform has launched in New Zealand, giving Kiwi diners the opportunity to save and book at a variety of restaurants around the country.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Mobility
Tyson Beckford partners with Element Case on new AppleWatch band
Celebrity Tyson Beckford has collaborated with STM Brands' Element Case brand to create a rugged new accessory.
Story image
Wireless Nation
Wireless Nation, N4L provide 4G network to remote NZ schools
Wireless Nation and Network for Learning (N4L) have rolled out the Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) new 4G network to better connect three Chatham Islands schools.
Story image
IDC
IDC finds 3.9% decline in worldwide tablet shipments
Preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker has found tablet shipments reached 38.4 million units during Q1 2022, a year-over-year decline of 3.9%.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
In almost every respect it works like a book, apart from the fact that it weighs next to nothing, fits in my hand perfectly, and is soothing on my eyes.
Story image
WolfVision
WolfVision announces new range of visualisers
WolfVision has announced a new range of visualisers to help meet multiple industry demands for remote learning and educational solutions.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
Sustainability
The AI Forum helps NZ pave the way with AI sustainability practices
Non-profit organisation The AI Forum is helping Kiwis learn about addressing climate change issues through the use of AI technology.
Story image
Chorus
Chorus and Nokia launches first trial of 25G PON broadband
Chorus and Nokia have announced the successful demonstration of 25 gigabit per second fibre (Gbps) broadband technology at the Chorus Fibre Lab in Auckland. 
Story image
Dynabook
Dynabook refreshes Portégé X30L series with the Portégé X30L-K
The new model contains hybrid-architecture Intel 12th Gen Core P-Series 28W processor options, Wi-Fi 6E, along with Intel Iris Xe graphics.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
Design
Dynabook launches new Tecra A40-K and A50-K models
Dynabook has announced two new additions to its Tecra range, with both said to help promote flexible working solutions while also reducing the strain on IT managers.
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: WD_Black SN770 NVMe SSD Game Drive
Western Digital expands its WD_Black range of NVMe solid-state drives with the WD_Black SN770 Game Drive.
Story image
Sony
Sony launches LinkBuds S - the latest model in the series
Sony says the LinkBuds S will give users a unique sound experience through sensor and spatial sound technology, even in AR games.
Story image
Gaming
PNY launches XLR8 Gaming EPIX memory products in A/NZ
PNY has launched its XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X RGB™ DDR4 Silver 3200MHz and 3600MHz memory products in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: HyperX Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse and HyperX Pulsefire XL Mat
With its lightweight Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse and RGB lit Pulsefire XL Mat, HyperX sets out to up your game and add a little colour to your desktop.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: Creative Outlier Air V3
Creative is back with the third version of its affordable Outlier Air wireless earbuds range - aptly named the ‘V3’. And this time, they come boasting ambient mode and active noise reduction.