Movie Review: “Joy”

Imagine having an ex-husband living in your basement, a mother who is unable to leave her bed, two young children, a player for a father who has just moved into the basement, and your grandmother – all under your roof. Then, add on the fact that your ex-husband is an aspiring singer who believes that practice makes perfect, and your father can’t help but pick a fight. Oh – and can’t forget about the late mortgage payments, holes in the floor, and constant plumbing problems; all of which only you have the ability to fix when you get home from your full time job.

Welcome to Joy’s life.

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Half of Joy Mangano’s family under her roof. Creative Commons license.

This winter, my dad asked me if there were any good comedy movies in theatres that we could see. After watching seemingly comical commercials featuring the chaotic home life in the movie “Joy,” I suggested we see it. Little did I know, I would not leave the theater in hysterics, but instead leave the theater feeling extremely inspired.

“Joy” is based on the life story of Joy Mangano. From the onset of the movie, viewers are exposed to the challenging family life that Joy endures. Her parents get divorced after constant fighting, she lives alongside her jealous half-sister, and her anxious mom becomes completely incapable of accomplishing anything after she becomes addicted to her television.

For most, these impediments would deter us from fighting for success, but for Joy Mangano, these impediments only motivate her to strive for more. Within the first 10 minutes, I realized that this movie is not your average light-hearted comedy.

As an adult, everyone in Joy’s household depends on her, leaving her practically no time to focus on her aspirations. Between roles as a mother, daughter, plumber, cleaner, ex-wife/friend, and cook, Joy is only able to catch a break from her grandmother, who constantly tells Joy that she has the potential to achieve great things.

Just when Joy starts to lose hope, she finds inspiration. After accidentally cutting herself on glass shards stuck in a mop’s head, she gets a brilliant idea and heads home with the motivation to invent the country’s first self-ringing and machine washable mop. Despite her many encounters with men who don’t believe in her strength and family members who don’t have faith in her idea, Joy is eventually able to sell her self-made product on the new QVC home shopping channel by herself, selling 18,000 mops in just 20 minutes.

The story alone sounds too incredible to be true, but the movie is based on the real life

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Joy Mangano and Jennifer Lawrence pose at the premiere of “Joy.” “We’re celebrating the empowering story and spirit of entrepreneurial women everywhere,” says Mangano of the film. Creative Commons License.

of Joy Mangano. Since her “miracle mop,” she has invented many more household items such as the thin velvet hanger, crowning her the “queen of HSN (the Home Shopping Network),” according to Good Housekeeping.

During a period when more women are encouraged to seek opportunities outside of their homes, “Joy” is an extremely inspirational movie to see. Joy knows what she wants, believes in herself and her ideas, and lets absolutely nothing and no one stand in her way.

In my opinion, one of the most admirable parts of Joy’s story is the fact that her life was transformed by the most menial, household task. Following her triumph, she began helping others in her same situation: believing in ordinary people’s extraordinary ideas and persevering until they saw a glimmer of success.

With an A-List cast starring Jennifer Lawrence as Joy, Bradley Cooper as Neil Walker, head of the TV network that supports Joy’s endeavors, and Robert De Niro as Joy’s father, and nominations for Best Comedy and Best Motion Picture of the year, you don’t want to miss this film. 8/10 stars.

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