Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Get social with me

facebook grandmasbriefstwitter iconpinterest iconinstagramyoutube grandmasbriefsgoogle+ grandmasbriefsnewsletter updates


Thank you for visiting Grandma's Briefs, where I write on the good, bad, humorous and heartwarming of being a baby boomer, grandparent, parent to adult children, wife and writer. Peruse the place, leave a comment or two, and feel free to email me any time at

Meet the family

 grandma and grandpa
Lisa (me) and Jim (aka PawDad)

blended family
Brianna (oldest daughter) and hubby Patrick with his son James 

 grandsons and parents
Megan (middle daughter) with hubby Preston and Declan, Camden, and Brayden

youngest and her fiance
Andrea (youngest daughter) and hubby Matt


Search Grandma's Briefs
Visit the Back Room

Go to Grandma's Back Room for reviews, giveaways, sponsored posts and more!

Follow me on Instagram

Read more from Lisa on...


What I'm reading

 best website for grandparents award

The Gazette Best Blog best grandparent site

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Peruse the archives
Share your thoughts
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Privacy policy

    I do not share personal information with third parties nor do I store information I collect about your visit to Grandma's Briefs for use other than to analyze content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at any time by modifying your Internet browser's settings. I am not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.


    Grandma's Briefs, Grilled Grandma and all content unless otherwise noted Copyright © 2009-2017, Lisa Carpenter. All rights reserved.
    Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Tool

    « How I know 2016 will be my year | Main | Welcome back! Plus, GRAND Social No. 187 link party for grandparents »

    Movie review: JOY

    I never expected to tear up over a story about a mop. Tear up a time or two I did, though, while watching the film JOY, which tells the tale of a mop and the woman who became a multimillionaire following the success of her Miracle Mop creation.

    JOY movie 

    Going into the screening of JOY, I didn't know it was about a mop. Nor did I know it was based on the real-life success story of Miracle Mop creator Joy Mangano of QVC fame. The trailer didn't reveal either — or if it did, it went right over my head as I was simply dazzled and delighted at the prospect of a joy-filled holiday film featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper.

    Thing is, though there were brief moments that elicited tears to well in my eyes, JOY overall is not joyful. I'm glad I saw the movie, didn't regret the time spent watching. But I didn't love it. It wasn't at all what I expected. Admittedly I can't put my finger on what I expected; my missing the gist of the film from the trailer makes that obvious, I suppose.

    What I enjoyed about JOY:

    • Jennifer Lawrence. She always impresses me, ever since seeing her in WINTER'S BONE years ago. (Though I must admit, I'm not a fan of THE HUNGER GAMES movies, for no specific reason.) She played a pretty good Joy despite being far younger than the real Joy was at the time. Critics and reviewers far more film savvy than I thought so, too, as her many "best actress" nominations for the role prove.

    • Joy's grandmother (Diane Ladd) had a prominent role in Joy's success because she believed in her, promoted her, encouraged her. As a grandma, that appealed to me.

    • I enjoyed seeing Virginia Madsen (as Joy's wacked-out mom) and Isabella Rossellini (as Joy's dad's rich girlfriend). It's been a while since I've seen either in a film and I was glad to see they had roles in a big film. Their characters were unlike previous roles, which I found interesting — even though I didn't like either one of the characters.

    • Edgar Ramirez, who plays Joy's ex-husband.

    • Melissa Rivers' spot-on turn playing her mother, Joan Rivers.

    • The soundtrack. Ella Fitzgerald. The Bee Gees. Nat King Cole. Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes). And more. Transcendent tunes.

    • The honest depiction of dysfunctional families and sibling rivalry. People really do act like that to the ones they supposedly love. It stinks (and is loud and angry; see below), but it's true.

    • The film serves as a reminder to never give up when you have a dream. If Joy Mangano can reach millionaire status because she didn't give up on her mop idea, it seems most folks can do the same, whatever their idea... if they don't give up. I needed that reminder.

    What I didn't enjoy about JOY:

    • Several scenes featuring Robert De Niro, who played Joy's father and who is an actor I almost always love watching, made me want to scream SHUT UP! The arguments with his ex-wife and his ex-son-in-law in particular. Sheesh! The bickering honestly hurt my head, his hateful remarks to others hurt my heart. Perhaps my reaction was because he and his scene mates accurately depicted interactions of dysfunctional families and I've heard enough of that in real scenes with my extended family. Whatever the reason, I hated the loudness and hatefulness of those scenes.

    • Bradley Cooper's character could have been played by anyone, which made his appearance in the film seem a gratuitous nod to the Lawrence/DeNiro/Cooper trio — and kind of a cheap way to draw in viewers interested in seeing the three together again after SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.

    JOY is supposedly a comedy but it seemed more like a drama to me. There were funny parts, but being billed as a "comedy" is misleading.

    • The lack of joy. No one was happy. Ever. Even success failed to create joy for Joy, it seemed. I hoped to come away feeling inspired and, well, joyful. Didn't happen.

    Perhaps if one knows what to expect from the film, they'll give JOY higher marks than I did, perhaps enjoy it more than I did. So here's what you can expect: Expect some parts that make you smile, some that make you sad, some that hurt your heart, and others that hurt your ears. Expect a lot of reality and little — or no — joy from JOY. Other than that, it's a pretty good story and proof that great things can happen if you never give up.

    And proof that Jennifer Lawrence can do a great job in a movie that's not as great as one might expect.

    A brief featurette on the real Joy and realizing one's dreams:

    JOY (rated PG-13 for "brief strong language") opened in theaters on Christmas Day 2015. Find out more on the film's official website.

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (6)

    Thanks for your review. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to see this. Maybe I'll wait until it comes out on DVD.

    It's funny how a trailer can set up your expectations for a film, and really help determine whether you like it or not. I remember years ago going to see "Closer" with Julia Roberts. The trailer made it seem like it was a quirky romcom. Um, no, no, not at ALL. It was a horrible movie about horrible people doing horrible things to each other. Made all the worse by the expectation set by the trailer. People got up and walked out (and I wanted to) because it was so clearly NOT what was promised.

    December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

    Oh, I hated CLOSER, Amber. Thankfully we had just rented it, but still. I kept waiting for it to get better (and nicer). Didn't happen.

    December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Hmmm... too much dissatisfaction going on in the world right now. I'll wait for your review that tells me I'll truly enJOY!

    December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    Thank you for this, Lisa. I've been on the fence about this movie - love the premise of success against the odds and love Jennifer Lawrence but it's been getting pretty low reviews. Sounds like a wait for it to be on Redbox or Netflix.

    December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    We saw it Christmas day and it was a nice film to see on Christmas. I thought Jennifer Lawrence did well and captured the relatives disfunction as a huge obstacle. I liked that it was based on a successful true story. I agree with you it just didn't have that something that wow. I think it is good for many age groups with out sex or violence, not much offensive language.

    December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHaralee

    I really appreciate how honest you are with your reviews and I can see why Robert de Niro's character wouldn't appeal to you. Me either. Definitely going to wait on this one.

    December 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc
    Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.