After the wacky American Hustle (2013), director David O. Russell reverted to a more solid kind of storytelling along the lines of his The Fighter (2011). This is the real-life story of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), the hard-luck, single mom who invented the Miracle Mop and struggled to get her business off the ground. The members of her family turn into Russell’s expected gallery of quirky characters and are wonderful to watch; the same is true for Lawrence who delivers a knock-out performance, her third in a row for Russell. Funny and engrossing, with a very entertaining look behind the scenes of the Home Shopping Network in its fledgling days.
2015-U.S. 124 min. Color-B/W. Produced by John Davis, Megan Ellison, Jonathan Gordon, Ken Mok, David O. Russell. Written and directed by David O. Russell. Cast: Jennifer Lawrence (Joy Mangano), Robert De Niro (Rudy Mangano), Bradley Cooper (Neil Walker), Édgar Ramírez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen… Isabella Rossellini, Melissa Rivers.
Trivia: Co-executive produced by Joy Mangano. Rivers plays her late mother Joan. In the soap opera scenes, the actors are played by several actual soap stars, including Susan Lucci.
Golden Globe: Best Actress (Lawrence).
Last word: “It was the most ambitious film I ever made. We all got sick, and it was the biggest winter in 80 years in Boston – like 11 feet of snow or something. Jennifer was getting sick between takes and then she’d come back and do the most romantic scene. But it gave her this weird vulnerability and it made her seem younger. It was so weird how she used it, because being sick does make you feel like a child. You just want to stay in bed and be comforted.” (Russell, Deadline)