Critics Consensus

Joy is anchored by a strong performance from Jennifer Lawrence, although director David O. Russell's uncertain approach to its fascinating fact-based tale only sporadically sparks bursts of the titular emotion.



Reviews Counted: 256

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User Ratings: 46,394


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.4/5

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Movie Info

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. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy's inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces. Jennifer Lawrence stars, with Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, and Virginia Madsen. Like David O. Russell's previous films, Joy defies genre to tell a story of family, loyalty, and love. (C) Fox

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Bradley Cooper
as Neil Walker
Laura Wright
as Clarinda
Donna Mills
as Priscilla
Jimmy Jean-Louis
as Louis-Touissant
Ken Howard
as Mop Executive
Ray DeLaPaz
as Tony's Father
John Enos III
as Roderick
Melissa Rivers
as Joan Rivers
Isabella Crovetti-Cramp
as Cramp-Young Joy
Emily Nunez
as Young Jackie
Madison Wolfe
as Young Peggy
Aundrea Gadsby Gadsby
as Cristy 5 Years Old
Gia Gadsby
as Cristy 5 Years Old
Tomas Denson Elizondo
as Tommy 3 Years Old
Zeke Louis Elizondo
as Tommy 3 Years Old
Alexander Cook
as Bartholomew
Lori McCoy-Bell
as Bell-Angry Airline Customer
Suzanne Frazier Wilkins
as Airline Customer
Jamell Washington
as Airline Customer Service Clerk
Gary Tolchin
as Airline Supervisor
Will Lebow
as Monsignor
Pedro Martinez Campos
as College Party Band
Carlos Alberto Valencia
as College Party Band
Alvaro Benavides
as College Party Band
Edgar Pantoja Aleman
as College Party Band
Shonda Schilling
as College Party Goer
Grant Schilling
as College Party Goer
Gary Zahakos
as Divorce Mediator
Josef Boreland
as Boat Captain
Mateo Gomez
as Latin Priest
Melissa McMeekin
as Parking Lot Woman
Erica McDermott
as Parking Lot Women
Carla Antonino
as Parking Lot Women
Michele L. Egerton
as Parking Lot Women
Fiore Leo
as Angela's Brother
Steve DeMarco
as Angela's Brother
Collin Knight
as Parking Lot Officer
Barbara Feeney
as Receptionist
Damien Di Paola
as Marv Brickman
Jeremiah Kissel
as Boardroom Reps
Dale Place
as Boardroom Reps
Mitchell Rosenwald
as Boardroom Reps
Matthew Russell
as Roger from Wardrobe
Paul Herman
as Rifle Man
Christy Scott Cashman
as Sarina Kimball
Richard McElvain
as Dr. Whitten
Mark Nemeskal
as Funeral Priest
Patrick Pitu
as Eerie Fabri-Pac Guy
Ken Cheeseman
as Gerhardt
Dan Bowen
as Eerie Fabri-Pac Guy
Naheem Garcia
as Police Officer
Ray Alongi
as Police Officer
Sonny Mirabella
as Front Desk Clerk
Bill Thorpe
as Dallas Man
Sam Weisman
as Lead Diller Attorney
Jeff Avigian
as Diller Attorney
Barry Primus
as Rudy's Attorney
Eliana Adise
as Teen Cristy
Jasmine White
as Young Memphis Woman
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News & Interviews for Joy

Critic Reviews for Joy

All Critics (256) | Top Critics (47)

  • The movie's a shambles, alternatingly agreeable and aggravating, held together by our interest in its heroine and by Lawrence's tremendously sympathetic performance.

    Jan 3, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Russell is almost totally uninterested in the story of how Joy Mangano explored a bizarre and unknown new business model and became its first self-made tycoon, and as a result we aren't interested either.

    Jan 3, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Joy is a film about life's defiance of expectations. It defies them right back.

    Dec 29, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Two years after Jennifer Lawrence appeared in David O. Russell's American Hustle, she gets to show some.

    Dec 28, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Joy can be viewed as a modern day rags-to-riches fairytale. It's Cinderella without the prince. In a way, that's part of the film's charm.

    Dec 25, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It's clear that the point here isn't people, it's payoff, emotional and otherwise.

    Dec 25, 2015 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Joy

Russell tries so hard to lampshade the blatant artificiality (typical of a soap opera) found in this absurd, unbelievable story (based very slightly on true events) that the result is, well, pretty hard to buy and to be engaged with, even if it is enjoyable and mostly refreshing to watch.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Neither all-wet, nor joyful, "Joy" is an interesting cinematic confection. Worthwhile, but derivative -- much like Joy's mop.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

The inventor of the Miracle Mop builds a business dynasty despite the obstruction of her family. Aside from a few gems, I've often found David O. Russell's accolades to be much ado about nothing, and what is true about most of his films is doubly true about this one. It's a disjointed story, with a ton of "tell" dialogue emphasizing just how awful Joy's family is, and the filmmaking is conspicuously absent of energy. For example, when Neil Walker is showing Joy the ropes, Bradley Cooper delivers the dialogue like he's in a trance, and the tracking shot is as static as any moving shot could be. Now imagine if Danny Boyle was directing an Aaron Sorkin script; what rapid-fire kick-assery would that have been. Also, the sound editing and direction was like the proverbial thumb in the frame. There were whole lines of dialogue that were clearly added in post - like fucking amateur hour nominated for awards. Overall, I don't understand why anybody like David O. Russell (outside of The Fighter, which is excellent).

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for yet another David O. Russell flick, but this time, I gotta say I'm mopping up what she's spilling. JLaw plays Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, with the good ol' spirit and guts we saw in "Winter's Bone," but tempered by even more smoky-voiced weariness and middle class ennui. Her resting face is just so eminently watchable with flickers of masked annoyance, seething fury, and hushed tenacity. I think that's why I didn't love her in "Silver Linings Playbook" or "American Hustle." She had to move her face too much, and it came off as inorganically manic or too young compared to her castmates, but here, she maturely commands the screen despite being much younger than the original figure. This is her story, with liberties taken from the source, but nevertheless, a compelling underdog tale of ingenuity and individualism, good business and bad blood. David O. Russell certainly deserves credit for toning down his usual flashy zooms and nostalgic soundtracks in favor of just telling a straight story. The expository narration and frost-edged childhood dreams are quaintly hokey, but when we see adult Joy stuck in a rut of caring for her rowdy kids, sweet but aimless ex-husband, and delusional parents, we can experience the full disappointment that she and friend Jackie feel of "how did we get here?" I also enjoyed the recurring juxtaposition of Joy's uphill battle with the glitzy and glam soap opera to which her agoraphobic mother, Terry, vicariously cleaves - holding the paper tiger sort of "daring woman" mentioned in the epigraph up against the real deal (or perhaps just the opposite: actually tearing down the traditional stereotypes of soap operas as melodramatic and feminine and reclaiming female agency, as argued in Ryan C. Shower's "The Case for Joy" There's also a cute little nod to the provenance of David O. Russell's middle initial with the upward mobility anecdote about how David O. Selznick, "son of immigrants," went on to marry Jennifer Jones. (Selznick's middle initial was an arbitrary choice, and Russell picked his as an homage.) The cast of supporting characters is also eccentric and diverse. Joy's father, Rudy, is that particular brand of loving but patriarchal, well-meaning but impotent man's man, and his line about how he shouldn't have encouraged Joy to follow her dreams, which seemingly blames himself but actually blames an uppity woman, is infuriatingly characteristic. His new squeeze, Trudy, is an Italian socialite who plays businesswoman but is not as shrewd as she is domineering. Despite these toxic influences in her life, Joy does have supportive relationships with her best friend played by Dascha Polanco and her crooner ex played by Edgar Ramirez, the latter of whom helps showcase JLaw's singing voice and Spanish skills. A little bit of French is also thrown in when Terry emerges from her bedroom with some charming persuasion from the Haitian plumber played by Jimmy Jean-Louis (of "Heroes"!). Now apparently, Joy Mangano's real-life journey is not as conflict-filled as the fictionalized account, but having screen Joy muck through so much denigrating sexism, professional misconduct, and blatant unconcern really earns her the badass, albeit clichéd, black-leather-clad moment of chopping her hair off and strutting up to get what's hers.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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