Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!


MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Pamela Karpelenia

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Biography Drama
2 hr. 4 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 25, 2015 (wide—2,700+ theaters)
DVD: May 3, 2016
Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures

difficulties of being a businesswoman

succeeding in the world of retail marketing

dealing with disappointments

betrayal, treachery

business deals within a family

being demeaned and belittled

the loss of innocence

living in a dysfunctional family

death of grandmother

sister sister relationship

how to handle confrontations


becoming a matriarch

Featuring: Jennifer LawrenceJoy Mangano
Virginia MadsenTerry
Bradley CooperNeil
Robert De NiroRudy Mangano
Elisabeth Röhm … Peggy
Dascha Polanco … Jackie
Édgar Ramírez … Tony Miranne
Isabella Rossellini … Trudy
Diane LaddMimi
Drena De Niro … Cindy
Donna Mills … Priscilla
Jimmy Jean-Louis … Toussaint
Melissa Rivers … Joan Rivers
See all »
Director: David O. Russell—“The Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)
Producer: Annapurna Pictures
Davis Entertainment
See all »
Distributor: Fox 2000 Pictures

“Joy” is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, the woman who invented the Miracle Mop.

“Joy” opens with scenes from a cheesy soap opera, that Joy’s mother (Virginia Madsen), is constantly watching. Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) is a divorced mother of two and the father of her children (Édgar Ramírez) lives in the basement. After a recent divorce, Joy’s father (Robert De Niro) is forced to move back in with Joy. We flash back to Joy’s childhood as narrated by her grandmother (Diane Ladd).

Young Joy is a creative girl who dreams of success inventing things that the world will love. However, her current station in life doesn’t resemble her once grand dream. Until a chance spill on a boat inspires her to invent “the last mop you’ll ever buy!”

Jennifer Lawrence is overwhelmingly compelling as a struggling mom trying to make a name for herself. Her accent isn’t consistent, but, overall, she is great. Her supporting cast members do an amazing job of keeping the story interesting and adding humor. The plot is a simple one, but directing make you care root for Joy, as her lack of business know how leads to many ups and downs.

There is some foul language and blasphemous use of God’s name. Ruthless behavior in the business world is also portrayed.

While her faith is never discussed in the film. We as Christians can relate to trials and tribulations that are part of our Christian walk. When faced with things like betrayal, anger, defeat and financial woes, we must place our burdens on Christ, and He will carry them. Although it can be difficult trusting every aspect of our life to Christ, it is the only way we can get through those hardships.

As for a recommendation, I enjoyed the film, and if you are interested in her story I would go see it, but be aware of language and other themes.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate to heavy—Oh G*d (1), OMG (5+), God (3), d*mn (2), f-word (1) / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I really didn’t want to go see a “Joy,” but I went with a group, and they picked this movie. I was frustrated at having to spend a movie ticket to see a “stupid boring drama,” and had no plans to watch it on DVD either. I wound up going anyway. I was pleasantly surprised. “Joy” was a really good movie. She was an underdog who pursued her dream. The movie is inspiring. The values of determination and perseverance are showcased nicely.

Also, it had great reminders to be as shrewd as a serpent, but as innocent as a dove. Although it had a really slow start, by the middle the audience is rooting for Joy, and feeling her pain. (Although, I still think it would have been fine to wait and rent it. But I really don’t like paying to see movies at the theater.)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Laura S, age 48 (USA)
Positive—I thought this story of an extremely ambitious young inventor was well told. Jennifer Lawrence is a good actress and put in a solid performance as the struggling entrepreneur who just won’t give up. Bradley Cooper, Virginia Madsen, Robert De Niro and Isabella Rossellini are seasoned actors who supported the story well. Biopics are not an easy genre, and I thought this movie portrayed Joy with enough information to make it interesting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Halyna Barannik, age 69 (USA)
Positive—Interesting movie. It was hard to watch her go from the role of “The Hunger Games” to this movie, because it was just so different. It was a well done movie, but there were just a lot of issues, over and over again, she had to overcome. The house was a mess and dirty most of the time, and dirty, old office they were in a lot too, so it was just odd seeing the movie in such an average setting when you saw her in Hunger Games with so much graphics. The movie certainly was inspiring for how much she fought through and didn’t take no for an answer, but, honestly, it was a little tough to watch and dark in many places. Not light hearted at all, so, if you are looking for something like that, save it for another day.

It was very well made for its genre, and she is a great actress, and I was inspired after seeing it, certainly mixed feelings though for how dark it felt. It did make me think about life and how we are beat down by those we are close to, and how creativity we had as children can get stifled and locked up or damaged.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Stephanie Smith, age 41 (USA)
Negative—Billed as a comedy/drama, there is a woeful lack of comedy, and unremitting angst. I left the theatre depressed. Other than Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, the images on the screen are continually seedy and commonplace. The script centres on the hardscrabble world of business and a dysfunctional family, offering nothing uplifting for a Christian audience. It is a story the did not need to be told.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 1½
Brian Schacht, age 69 (Canada)
Movie Critics
…“Joy” is a joyless exercise… it all feels wrong… a peculiar, disturbing movie, somewhere between a drama without impact and a feel-bad comedy. …
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
…nominally a story of perseverance and tenacity over ridiculous odds, but spends much of its time examining the paralysis caused by the myriad vicissitudes and irrationalities of its madly neurotic, self-involved characters. That the film itself is nearly as chaotic as the clan it examines…
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…“Joy” makes it official—Jennifer Lawrence is a real movie star…
Lou Lumenick, New York Post
…“Joy” is lacking, But Jennifer Lawrence is bliss… The problem isn’t that the scenario is unrealistic: Everything that happens in “Joy” is believable. But Russell fails in the subtlety department. …
Stephanie Zacharek, Time magazine
…The story is strangely disjointed—a somewhat surreal comedy at first that slowly morphs into a family/business drama. But Russell still shows off his eye for the humorously ludicrous here, and Lawrence and Cooper… are as charismatic as ever. …
Paul Asay, Plugged In
…an intriguing but weirdly subdued and stylised film starring Jennifer Lawrence – who incidentally achieves new heights of imperious beauty. …this film often feels rather unreal – an unreality that is by turns disconcerting and entertaining…
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…ambitious but flawed story… Despite the convoluted family dynamics, Lawrence makes “Joy” easy to believe and easy to root for…
Sandy Cohen, Associated Press
…Russell draws his characters as broadly as those soap opera stick figures he’s so eager to mock, and though Joy at least tries to break the standard biopic formula, it’s only partially successful at reconstructing an interesting life.
Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
…A riveting, madcap mess—and a lot of fun… A kind of fractured fairy tale with a feminist ethic, Joy is a great story, great fun. It's also kind of a mess, but who's complaining?
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.