Joy

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Joy Movie Poster Image
Inspiring but uneven drama about Miracle Mop inventor.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 124 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 10 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Perseverance is a major theme. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again -- and don't let anyone take away your dreams.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Joy is determined, indefatigable, and caring -- perhaps too caring of others around her, who may not have her best interests in mind.

Violence

A woman cuts her hands on broken glass; her palms are shown bloodied. A couple insults each other and argues loudly in front of their grown child and young grandchildren. In a dream sequence, a woman is chloroformed and kidnapped. Joy goes to an outdoor shooting range to release stress; a TV soap opera character also holds a gun.

Sex

Some kissing and innuendo. 

Language

Mostly on the milder side ("ass," and such), but there's one use of "f--k." A woman gives someone the finger. 

Consumerism

Joy's own Miracle Mop product is featured prominently (as expected); other brands/labels seen include QVC, HSN, K-Mart, Mercedes Benz, Campbell's soup, Polo by Ralph Lauren, Fox TV, and Embassy Suites.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Joy is a drama based on the real-life Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), inventor of the Miracle Mop. There are lots of highs and lows in her story -- including a dysfunctional family, financial insecurity, and a deep desire to fulfill dreams deferred -- which makes it a better fit for older viewers. But Joy is an inspiring person, and the content itself isn't too edgy; there's some swearing (mostly on the milder side, but there's one "f--k"), arguing, drinking (usually socially), kissing, and innuendo -- and, of course, a heavy emphasis on the best-selling Miracle Mop product. A dream sequence includes a kidnapping.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byprofessionalmov... January 5, 2016

Fantastic gripping movie; to complex for younger viewers.

Joy is about a girl who tries to make lots of money from making a mop. This movie has tonnes of humour and also lots of mature topics such as divorce and busine... Continue reading
Adult Written bymagiau January 3, 2016

Disappointed

That's the problem when you see a good trailer, you get too excited for the movie and when you get to see it, it's really not what you expected. But... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebo344 December 25, 2015

Uninteresting.

Joy is a dull and uninteresting biopic about Joy Mangano. While Jennifer Lawrence gives a great performance and the rest of the cast, the story is bland. Two an... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byTed F. January 10, 2016

"Never speak, on my behalf, about my business, again."

Go see this movie. If you don't, the only disappointment you will have when you finally see it is that you didn't see it sooner.

What's the story?

JOY Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) has always had an inventive mind. As a child, she built entire worlds and sought to make them real. But as the saying goes, life has a way of making other plans: When Joy's parents divorce, she and her half-sister are torn apart, making tensions between them worse. Though Joy graduated as her class valedictorian and got into college, she never went -- she was too busy taking care of her dysfunctional family. So when she has a eureka moment and comes up with the idea for the Miracle Mop, she's excited and ready to take on the challenge of getting it made and selling it. And quite a challenge it is. 

Is it any good?

Director David O. Russell's signature kinetic charm is at play here, but this movie falls short of greatness. Lawrence delivers a brilliant performance, backed by an unimpeachable cast that includes Robert De Niro as Mangano's father, Isabella Rossellini as his girlfriend, and Bradley Cooper as a QVC genius.

But the meandering, over-long script is all over the place, and Russell's jazzy genius -- which lofted previous films -- feels a bit like a shortcut here. Joy never quite finds its center. Still, Joy's rags-to-riches -- with a load of obstacles in turn -- is inarguably inspiring.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that Joy is a true story. How accurate do you think it is to what actually happened? Why might filmmakers choose to tweak the truth in movies based on real life?

  • How does the movie depict Joy’s journey? What's the takeaway? How does she demonstrate perseverance? Why is this an important character strength?

  • The movie pays a lot of attention to how the Miracle Mop was invented; is this commercialism or not?

  • Why do you think Joy puts up with her difficult family? Is she being a martyr,In or does she simply have a different way of handling her relatives?

Movie details

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