Director David O. Russell has reunited his Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013) stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper for his latest drama Joy.
Originally thought of as a biopic of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano, the film now takes its inspiration from various people – including Russell's own mother – in telling the story of one woman's fight through life. "We decided to make it about the interior life of her soul as she goes from the ages of 10 to into middle age," says writer/director Russell. "And those who inspire her and those who kind of are obstacles to her in her own family – and in the cold world of business. That's ambitious for us."
Though Joy is the theme as well as the title and Jennifer Lawrence's character, the film is a story of lows as well as highs, as the image below shows. "She's arrested and put behind bars. She's a fierce woman who's trying to fight for what she's done. And she'll go to any length. She'll risk anything to get there. And she loses that chapter."
Alongside Lawrence are other Russell alumni, including Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) in a story that Russell describes as "a fable that lives somewhere between, you know, Citizen Kane (1941), The Godfather (1972) and It's A Wonderful Life (1946). I would say it lives in the middle of that territory of the loss of your soul."
A crucial element of that is Joy's own family. "The relationship with her daughter is traumatized many times," says Russell.
"We see that little girl grow up to be a young woman," says Russell. "That little girl that's on that bed. That's one of the very powerful and interesting things to me in the movie: what are you left with when you've sacrificed and you've bled?"
Russell loves plumbing dysfunctional families for comedy and pathos, whether the surrogate kind (Three Kings) or the real deal (The Fighter). This one looks like no exception.
With Édgar Ramírez (The Bourne Ultimatum), Isabella Rossellini (Infamous), Diane Ladd (Inland Empire) and Virginia Madsen (Sideways) also aboard, Joy will hit UK cinemas on 1 January next year.