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Joy: Not Just Another Biographical Film

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I happened to watch this wonderful film a couple of days ago. With no phone or any other means to contact the world around me and an unbearably hot weather, I was left with no choice but to stay indoors and desperately wait for my new sim card to get activated. I decided to watch the film mainly for the cast. Who wouldn’t want to watch a film which has Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro?!

When I started watching the film I had no idea who Joy Mangano was or that self wringing mops do/did exist. I can’t be objective about the film. Not when I was devastated about my phone which I had bought with my two months’ savings. The protagonist made me feel better. I had just lost one phone which could be replaced. This woman only knew losses. From the paper house she fondly built as a child to the patent for the moulds of her self-wringing mop…HER invention. She is debt and with each attempt to make money to pay the debts off, she finds herself deeper in debt. To make things worse, nobody believes in her. Not her father, who is trying to fix his own life. Not her mother, whose only consolation is the television. The only person who knows her potential is her grandmother, who tries her best to make sure Joy doesn’t give up on her dreams. Of course, the film ends with a happy note, with Joy’s success and a description of her rise to power in the commercial world. But what really impressed me was the naturalness that was present throughout the film. There are no ‘out-of-the-word’ moments that the characters go through. She freezes on the stage, like any person unacquainted with camera and lights would. She makes mistakes. She cries. She lets her weakness show.

What impressed me even more was the fact that I never saw Jennifer Lawrence in the film. Not a single scene or shot. It was always Joy. And once I finished watching it, I realized the character was played by Jennifer Lawrence and my admiration for her just went up a couple of notches. I loved this woman as Mystique, as Katniss and now as Joy. I’m sure whatever role she takes up, she’ll make the audience fall in love with the character.

P.S. It is a must watch for all those pseudo-patriots who have been ranting about how bad Indian biopics are because all Bollywood does is make films about cricketers. And those who went all ‘wow’ about The Man Who Knew Infinity without bothering to read the book first (or even after, for that matter) must watch Joy to understand that a biographical film is not all about glorifying a person. Rather, it is a reminder to the world about the mistakes not to be made and the bold steps that must be taken at any cost.


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