I’m always into a true story when it comes to films. I think Hollywood has gotten bogged down with retreading hits from the past and have overlooked a lot of fantastic real-work stories. Having already seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I wanted to take in something a little different. So when my wife and I both wanted to see Joy, all I knew was that it was based on true events. That was the limit of what I knew of the film before I went in.
Holy crudstunk! This movie was fantastic. I won’t ruin the movie for you with the details of the plot, but this was the story of an unlikely hero, a female who had a simple idea and who never gave up on being herself. At every turn, life seems to intercede against her, yet she always digs deep and prevails.
The acting of Jennifer Lawrence and Robert Di Nero take you as a viewer on a story that I had never heard of. The filming was incredible – it was like being back in 1981 all over again. Jennifer Lawrence is a fantastic actress, sucking me in as a viewer from the first ten minutes on.
If you have a child, you need to take them to this movie. It is about perseverance, determination, and overcoming life’s obstacles. There were parts of the movie when you reflect on the influences of your friends and family on your own life. You are sucked into Joy’s life, for better or worse. Every few minutes, just when you think she’s going to prevail, life tosses her a curveball. Joy doesn’t collapse or play the victim-card expecting others to bail her out. She puts on her big-girl panties and charges headlong into the obstruction.
Bradley Cooper was brilliant as well, then again he pulled off playing a rocket-firing raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy so there’s no role he can’t take on. I told my wife his character reminded me of when I met Tom Monaghan of Domino’s Pizza. He asked me what business he was in and I said, “the pizza business.” He shook his head. “No. I have built a network that can deliver any kind of food, all around the country, within 30 minutes. It doesn’t matter what it is, I can deliver it. Not only that, I know the full status of inventory and sales of my entire distribution network almost live.” His words always stuck with me. Cooper has a scene where he’s talking about his business model and I got a chill of a memory from my consulting time at Domino’s. Very visionary, very well written.
There’s some powerful metaphors in this movie – like the soap operas that Joy’s mother watches, which are in your face yet oddly subtle in their messages. We talked at dinner after the film and we both came away with a lot we saw in this film.
Five stars doesn’t seem enough. This is a movie that will make you cry, make you smile, and make you want to support your kids in every aspect of their lives. This is what going to the movies should be about. Go see Joy!