Joy (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by David O. Russell
Produced by
Screenplay by David O. Russell
Story by
Music by
Cinematography Linus Sandgren
Edited by
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 13, 2015 (2015-12-13) (New York City)
  • December 25, 2015 (2015-12-25) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million[2]
Box office $101.1 million[3]

Joy is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film, written and directed by David O. Russell[4] and starring Jennifer Lawrence as Joy Mangano, a self-made millionaire who created her own business empire.

Joy received a theatrical release on December 25, 2015, distributed by 20th Century Fox. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Lawrence's performance but criticized the writing and pace of the film. Lawrence received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her performance. Joy was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, among other accolades.


In 1990, Joy Mangano is a divorced mother of two, working as a booking clerk for Eastern Airlines. She lives with her two young children, her mother Terri, her grandmother Mimi, and her ex-husband Tony in working-class Peconic, New York. Her parents are divorced, and her mother and father fight whenever her father shows up at her home. Joy's older half-sister, Peggy, is an overachiever who constantly humiliates Joy in front of her children for her failed marriage. Peggy and Joy's father Rudy are very close. Terri spends all day lying in bed watching soap operas as a means of escape from her life, leaving Joy to run the household. Only Joy's grandmother and her best friend Jackie encourage her to pursue her inventing ambitions and become a strong successful woman.

After divorcing his third wife, Joy's father starts dating Trudy, a wealthy Italian widow with some business experience. While on Trudy's boat, Joy and her family drop their glasses of red wine, and she attempts to mop up the mess. While doing so, Joy cuts her hands on the broken glass while wringing the mop. Joy returns home and creates blueprints for a self-wringing mop. She builds a prototype with help from the employees at her father's shop. She then convinces Trudy to invest in the product. They make a deal with a company in California, owned by a man in Dallas, to manufacture the mop's parts at a low price. In order to avoid a potential lawsuit, Joy also pays $50,000 in royalties to a man in Hong Kong who supposedly has created a similar product. When the company repeatedly bills Joy for faulty parts they create, Joy refuses to pay the fees and tells her father, Trudy, and Peggy not to pay them.

Joy needs a quick, easy way to advertise her product, and is able to meet with QVC executive Neil Walker, with the help of Tony, who despite being divorced from Joy, remains close with her. Neil is impressed and shows Joy his infomercials, where celebrities sell entrepreneurs' products through a telethon system. Neil tells Joy to manufacture 50,000 mops. Joy is advised by Rudy and Trudy to take out a second mortgage on her home, in order to pay her costs. The first infomercial fails, due to the celebrity Neil chose to advertise the product having no clue how the mop works properly, but the next day she goes straight to QVC and convinces Neil to let her do the infomercial. Once the second infomercial is done, Joy and her product become an overnight success. Things look up for the family, with the mop earning thousands of dollars on QVC, and Terri falls for Toussaint, a Haitian plumber Joy hired to fix a leak in Terri's bedroom, something Terri has not done since her divorce with Rudy and other than watching her soap operas.

Joy's grandmother dies suddenly, after the running success. Rudy and Trudy send Peggy to California to conduct Joy's company business. Afterwards Peggy tells Joy that she paid the excessively raised production fees, despite Joy telling them not to pay them. She now claims to Joy that she and Rudy have a product of their own to send to QVC which they believe will be better than Joy's. Joy is angry and travels to California to meet with the manufacturer, who refuses to pay her back. Joy discovers that the manufacturer is about to fraudulently patent her design and claim that they were the ones who originally created the mop. Trudy's lawyer reveals that there is nothing they can do to prevent this, since Peggy paid the excessive fees and Joy is forced to file for bankruptcy. Joy discovers that the manufacturers have been defrauding her the entire time she has dealt with them. Upon learning this, she travels to Dallas to confront the owner, Derek Markham. She reveals to Markham that she made a call to the man she supposedly paid the royalties to in Hong Kong, to explain about the product, but that he told Joy that he had no knowledge of the mop being made or of any royalties being paid, proving that Markham and the manufacturing company are committing fraud and embezzlement, which forces Markham to pay Joy back. In the following scene, Joy is seen standing underneath a Snowmaker in Dallas, looking confident. She smiles, and slowly walks away, as Cream's "I Feel Free" plays in the background.

Several years later, Joy is a wealthy, successful businessperson who helps other young inventors develop their ideas. Jackie and Tony remain her most valued advisors. Joy continues to take care of her father, despite him and Peggy having unsuccessfully and wrongly tried to sue her for ownership of her company. Terri is the only family member who does not live off Joy, finally finding stability through her relationship with Toussaint; and as Neil had predicted, he and Joy became "Adversaries in Commerce," with her move to HSN, but they remained personal friends.



Writing and casting[edit]

In January 2014, it was announced that David O. Russell's upcoming project would entail rewriting and directing a drama film about American inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano, a struggling Long Island single mom of three children.[5] Russell set Jennifer Lawrence to play the lead role in the film, which John Davis and John Fox produced for Davis Entertainment, along with Ken Mok, with 20th Century Fox holding the distribution rights.[5] In early November 2014, Russell said it was "a great opportunity to do something neither Jennifer nor I have done [before]." He also stated that he would like to cast Robert De Niro and create a role for Bradley Cooper to star in the film.[17] On November 11, it was reported that De Niro was in final talks to re-team with Russell and Lawrence in the film, to play Mangano's father.[18] They worked together in the 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook, and then De Niro made a cameo in 2013's American Hustle.[7] Russell rewrote the script by Annie Mumolo.[7] On November 17, De Niro confirmed his casting, saying "Yes I am going to do something with them. I am going to play a father."[7] In early December 2014, Cooper was officially set to star along with Lawrence, playing an executive at QVC who helps Joy by giving the Miracle Mop a boost.[8] On December 8, Édgar Ramírez was cast as Tony Miranda, Joy's now ex-husband.[9] Additional cast members, including Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, and Virginia Madsen in unspecified roles, were revealed on February 17, 2015.[10] Isabella Crovetti-Cramp played young Joy.[6] In February, another working title was revealed, which was Kay's Baptism.[19] Elisabeth Röhm's casting as Peggy, sister of Joy Mangano, was revealed on February 27, 2015.[13]


Principal photography began in February 2015, after De Niro completed the shooting of Dirty Grandpa.[7] Filming was originally set to begin on February 9, 2015, in Boston, Massachusetts, making this Russell's third film shot in the area.[20][21] Due to snow in the city, filming was rescheduled to begin on February 19, on Federal Street in Wilmington, MA, lasting through February 26,[22][23] but principal photography on the film began in Boston on February 16, 2015.[10][24][25]

In Wilmington, filming lasted until February 26, 2015.[26] On February 27, 2015, Lawrence made a Facebook post denying the rumors about her clashes with Russell on the set of the film, saying, "David O. Russell is one of my closest friends and we have an amazing collaborative working relationship. I adore this man and he does not deserve this tabloid malarkey. This movie is going great and I’m having a blast making it!"[27] After wrapping up in Wilmington, the production moved to North Reading, where shooting took place March 2–4, 2015[19] and on March 11 and 12.[28]


The film was released on December 25, 2015.[29]


Box office[edit]

Joy grossed $56.4 million in the U.S. and Canada and $44.7 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $101.1 million against a budget of $60 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, the film opened on December 25, 2015 alongside Point Break, Daddy's Home, and Concussion, as well as the wide release of The Big Short. In its opening weekend, it was projected to gross $13–15 million from 2,896 theaters.[30] It ended up grossing $17 million, finishing third at the box office behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($149.2 million) and Daddy's Home ($38.7 million).[31]

Critical response[edit]

Joy received mixed reviews from critics.[32] On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 59%, based on 247 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's consensus reads, "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."[33] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[34] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[31]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards[35] Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence Nominated
AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards Best Picture Nominated
Best Comedy Nominated
Best Time Capsule Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Diane Ladd Won
Best Supporting Actor Robert De Niro Nominated
Best Screenwriter David O. Russell Won
Best Director Nominated
ACE Eddie Awards[36] Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Tom Cross and Christopher Tellefsen Nominated
Art Directors Guild Awards Contemporary Film Judy Becker Nominated
Casting Society of America Big Budget – Comedy Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham, Angela Peri Nominated
Costume Designers Guild Awards[37][38] Excellence in Costume Design for a Contemporary Film Michael Wilkinson Nominated
Critics’ Choice Awards[39][40] Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence Nominated
Best Comedy Nominated
Best Actress in a Comedy Jennifer Lawrence Nominated
Denver Film Critics Society Best Comedy Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence Nominated
Best Ensemble Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[41][42] Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Jennifer Lawrence Won
MTV Movie Awards[43] Best Female Performance Jennifer Lawrence Nominated
True Story Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[44] Choice Movie Actress: Drama Jennifer Lawrence Won


  1. ^ "JOY (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2015. 
  2. ^ McClintock, Pamela (December 22, 2015). "Making of 'Joy': How Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell Survived Endless Blizzards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Joy (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Joy". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 24, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Fleming Jr, Mike (30 January 2014). "'American Hustle's David O Russell, Jennifer Lawrence Circle Joy Mangano Story At Fox 2000". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Isabella Crovetti-Cramp's going to play Jennifer Lawrence's 'Young Joy'". Twitter. Retrieved March 26, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Vivarelli, Nick (November 17, 2014). "Robert De Niro Confirms He Will Reteam with Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell on 'Joy'". Variety. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Lloyd, Kenji (December 5, 2014). "Bradley Cooper Confirmed to Reunite with Jennifer Lawrence for David O. Russell's Joy, Melissa Leo in Talks". Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (December 8, 2014). "Edgar Ramirez Joins Jennifer Lawrence in David O. Russell's 'Joy'". Variety. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Park, Colleen (February 17, 2015). "'Joy' biopic starring Jennifer Lawrence begins filming". Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Joy character breakdown". Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  12. ^ "'Orange Is The New Black's Dascha Polanco Joins Jennifer Lawrence In 'Joy'". Deadline Hollywood. March 5, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b McNary, Dave (February 27, 2015). "Elisabeth Rohm Joins Jennifer Lawrence in 'Joy'". Variety. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  14. ^ "'First Look! Melissa Rivers Plays Her Late Mom Joan in New Movie Joy". December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Reality Bites: Donna Mills Gets "A Little Pushy" (But Not Bitchy!) in Queens of Drama". Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c Madison III, Ira. "David O. Russell Loves Soap Actors". Vulture. Retrieved December 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ Fischbach, Bob (November 9, 2014). "A Q&A with David O. Russell ahead of his Omaha event". Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ Kit, Borys; Siegel, Tatiana (November 11, 2014). "Robert De Niro in Talks to Reteam With Jennifer Lawrence for Miracle Mop Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Masterson, Les (February 22, 2015). "Lawrence, DeNiro, Cooper Movie Filming in North Reading". Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  20. ^ Goldstein, Meredith (February 6, 2015). "'Joy' begins filming in Mass. on Monday". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  21. ^ "'Joy', starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, will begin filming in Boston in February". January 31, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  22. ^ Goldstein, Meredith (February 12, 2015). "David O. Russell project will film in Wilmington". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  23. ^ Feinstein, Chelsea (February 10, 2015). "Wilmington's 'Baptism' into Hollywood". Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  24. ^ "On The Set For 2/16/15: David O. Russell Starts Lensing 'Joy', 'Maze Runner 2′ Wraps & More". February 16, 2015. Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ Goldstein, Meredith (February 16, 2015). "Jennifer Lawrence shops, dines around Boston". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  26. ^ Taurasi, Liz (February 18, 2015). "Movie Filming Starts Thursday, Let the Celebrity Sightings Begin!". Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  27. ^ Sneider, Jeff (February 27, 2015). "Jennifer Lawrence Denies Bad Blood With David O. Russell on Set of 'Joy'". TheWrap. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  28. ^ "More dates announced for 'Joy', starring Jennifer Lawrence, filming in North Reading, MA". March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  29. ^ Busch, Anita (6 June 2014). "David O. Russell's 'Joy' Gets Christmas 2015 Release Date". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  30. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 21, 2015). "'Force Awakens' Will Own Christmas Weekend As Five Wide Releases Join The Fray – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b "'Daddy', 'Joy' & 'Hateful Eight' Reap Fortune As 'Star Wars' Halo Effect Impacts B.O…Can 'Force Awakens' Hit $1 Billion In U.S.?". Deadline Hollywood. 
  32. ^ "New Movie 'Joy' Celebrates Something We Already Appreciate: Entrepreneurs". 
  33. ^ "Joy (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 30, 2018. 
  34. ^ "Joy reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 6, 2016. 
  35. ^ Hetter, Katia (February 28, 2016). "The 2016 Oscars winners list". CNN. Retrieved February 28, 2016. 
  36. ^ Chitwood, Adam (January 4, 2016). "'Mad Max: Fury Road', 'Star Wars', 'The Big Short' Land ACE Eddie Editing Nominations". Collider. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Winners Announced at the 18th Costume Designers Guild Awards with Presenting Sponsor LACOSTE". Costume Designers Guild. February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 24, 2016. 
  38. ^ "Nominees for the 18th Costume Designers Guild Awards Announced". Costume Designers Guild. January 7, 2016. Retrieved February 24, 2016. 
  39. ^ "Critics' Choice Awards Nominations: 'Mad Max' Leads Film; ABC, HBO, FX Networks & 'Fargo' Top TV". Deadline Hollywood. December 14, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015. 
  40. ^ Guglielmi, Jodi (December 14, 2015). "Critics' Choice Awards Mad About Mad Max: Fury Road as Nominations Are Announced". Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  41. ^ "The Golden Globes: Full List of Winners and Nominees". NBC News. January 10, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  42. ^ "Golden Globes 2016: DiCaprio, Lawrence, The Martian and The Revenant win top awards – as it happened". Guardian. 10 January 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  43. ^ Lovett, Jamie (2016-03-08). "Deadpool, Avengers, And Star Wars Nominated For MTV Movie Awards". 
  44. ^ Vulpo, Mike (May 24, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016 Nominations Announced: See the "First Wave" of Potential Winners". E!. Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • David O. Russell, Joy, Faber & Faber, 2015.

External links[edit]