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YMMV / Joy (2015)

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • The man selling Joy's mop on the infomercial doesn't appear to know how to work it. Was he deliberately sabotaging it after Joy offended him by accident? Or did he just refuse to learn how to use it out of spite?
    • It's up for debate how much sympathy Mimi deserves. She appears to be the Morality Pet in Joy's family, giving her inspirational speeches and trying to be there for her. Yet she also appears to be mooching off Joy as well and is rarely seen helping out — despite her granddaughter being so overwhelmed. Likewise she never intervenes and tells her daughter to get a grip, allowing the family to continue to take advantage of Joy.
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    • You could also interpret Mimi as an Unreliable Narrator, given how everyone who doesn't love Joy is portrayed as a Hate Sink.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Joy's daughter seems incredibly unfazed at the despairing speech she screams at her. After Joy hurriedly apologises, the daughter doesn't seem affected at all.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Joy is an Extreme Doormat surrounded by horribly ungrateful family members — who take advantage of her in almost comical ways. Nothing seems to go right for her, and she spends most of the movie getting screwed and taken advantage of. This led to some snarking over how the movie was titled 'Joy' but was so grim and depressing. Chris Pratt even mocked Jennifer Lawrence for it playfully during a skit on the BBC-Radio 1 show — saying "why did they call it Joy?" — to which Jennifer burst into hysterical giggles, suggesting she felt the same way.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Jackie, Joy's best friend. She's the only person to whom Joy is close who actually stands by her during the entire movie.
    • Tony, despite starting as a deadbeat, actually cares about Joy and their children. He tries to give advice that is in her best interest, even standing up against her downright toxic family and remains a good friend of hers and one of her closest advisers (together with Jackie) after she finally achieves success. He also grows out of the deadbeat-ness.
    • Neil Walker, due to being the only other halfway decent person in the movie besides Joy, Jackie and Tony, and played by Bradley Cooper.
  • Memetic Mutation: There was some over the film being titled 'Joy' but not having a lot of joy in it.
  • Narm:
    • Mimi's Establishing Character Moment is her giving an on-the-nose speech to Joy as she's fetching something for her mother. It feels incredibly forced, as the abuse between Joy and her family isn't fully established yet.
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    • All of Joy's family members (save Mimi) are almost cartoon villains with how awful they are to her.
    • The Important Haircut since there's no explanation for it, and Joy inexplicably gains all the information she needs after she's done it.
    • The "do you pick up the gun?" scene is played with an odd seriousness that suggests Joy is about to sell cocaine or go into weapons dealing, as opposed to just trying to sell a mop.
    • When Joy is taken away by the police when she discovers her designs have been stolen, it's played like a comedy sketch as opposed to the shocking moment it's supposed to be.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The movie got some criticism for having Isabella Rossellini - at one time regarded as the most beautiful woman in the world - and barely featuring her. She plays a Satellite Character who only functions to give Joy money, complain about her not getting things done and be her father's love interest.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: The film is considered a real step down from David O Russell's previous repertoire - and it seems to have dented his Career Resurrection a bit - but Jennifer Lawrence was unanimously praised for her gripping performance as Joy. She even got another Oscar nomination.
  • Tough Act to Follow: This movie didn't up to the three of the David O. Russell films (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) which were all critically-acclaimed and Oscar-nominated. Instead it got mixed reviews and only one Oscar nomination (Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence). It's nearly tied to another of O. Russell's worst rated movie (not counting Accidental Love which he disowned), I Heart Huckabees, which got a RT rating of 62% and Metacritic score of 55/100.
  • Uncertain Audience: The film bounces back and forth between gritty biopic and comedy. Notably it features depressing scenes like Joy discovering she's lost all her money at her grandmother's funeral, but then slapsticky scenes like her mother falling for a repairman she had initially despised.


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