Joy

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A very good movie, directed and written by David O. Russell, starring Jennifer Lawrence in the eponymous role.

Joy is struggling with her mostly dysfunctional family, and a life that was derailed early by her assumed family obligations, and an unwise marriage choice. Her husband still hangs around, living in her basement, though. Also living with her are her Mom (Virginia Madsen), a voluntarily bed-ridden soap opera addict; Dad (Robert De Niro), a cantankerous oldster; Grandma (Diane Ladd), who plays kind of an encouraging mentor. Throw into the mix Dad's new love, Trudy (Isabella Rossellini), who's financially well-off, but …

A happenstance accident gives Joy her big idea: a self-wringing mop with a washable head. She proceeds with single-minded determination to bring it to market. This involves overcoming many obstacles, not the least of which is her financial situation, a disastrous start to a QVC marketing opportunity, shady suppliers. And above all, most of her family and acquaintences are only semi-supportive.

It is intelligent and watchable throughout, and (Hallelujah!) blissfully free of anti-business claptrap. Joy's quest is presented as an honorable manifestation of the American Dream. That's pretty rare these days.