Joy ★★★

I've never really been on board with the whole hatred for David O. Russell, a feeling which seems to most powerfully manifested on this site. He's received this hatred, at least partially, for consistently making, 'Oscar bait' films. I've said before that I hate that term, and I point it out again here. It's such a horrible label, so incredibly dismissive and it really blames the artist as having no other motivation than to get an award. I think that a lot of people, David O. Russell included, may just like making movies. Often the result of that impulse ends up being an entertaining flick. No, Russell is not known for his depth, he's not known for making great films. But, at least he tends to deliver when it comes to entertaining his audience.

However, if this is to be labeled as 'Oscar bait', it's certainly his farthest from succeeding, both factually, as it was only nominated for one Oscar, and in quality, as it only perhaps deserved that one nomination. Now, I'm not saying it's a bad film. Unlike many, as you may have been able to tell, I think that Russell's films are at least enjoyable. This is indeed an enjoyable film, but it's also his farthest from a quality film that I've seen.

It's a lot of fun, it's got some terrific scenes here and there, but I believe that the error most noticeable is the fact that Russell has committed here a screenwriting error that beginners are taught to avoid, and it's pretty easy to avoid at that: don't have your characters (maybe one if that's just their personality) always say exactly what they're thinking. That error is so present here it's pretty annoying, not just from a writer's point of view, but it just tends to make the characters very flat.

Luckily, Lawrence breathes some life into the character, as she always tends to do. Her performance isn't Oscar worthy when up against the other nominees this year, but it is probably the best feature the film has to offer.

Joy is an entertaining little film. If you're looking for a great film with depth and fascinating layered characters, here is not where to look. But it's still a fun, somewhat inspiring movie.