How can you tell when a character in a movie is based on a real person? When you can see that the person is flawed, insecure, makes errors in judgment and is less than perfect.

Such is the case in this story, which is based on a real person. She is a divorced mother of two who is being downsized, has a soaps-addicted mother living in one bedroom, an ex husband living in the basement and now her divorced father is being dropped off by his NEXT soon-to-be ex. Furthermore, he does NOT get along with his former son-in-law. Her life is chaos.

Written and directed by David O. Russell ("Three Kings") who has selected some of his top-notch team from two previous outings: "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle."

The award-winning cast:
  • Jennifer Lawrence ("The Hunger Games") is Joy, ambitious, naive and vulnerable; she wants stability, peace and quiet, and most of all, she would like to fulfill Grandma Mimi's prophesy, that she would create many things, thrive and be happy.
  • Virginia Madsen ("Sideways") Terry wants to live in her daughter's spare bedroom, watch her favorite soaps and hide from the world.
  • Diane Ladd ("I Dream Too Much") Mimi not only cares for her inventive little granddaughter as she grows up, she also provides the voiceover.
  • Robert De Niro ("The Intern") Rudy may not be the best father, but he would appreciate it if his daughter would throw out her ex so he can have her basement to himself.
  • Isabella Rossellini ("Chicken with Plums") is Trudy, Rudy's new girlfriend. Luckily, she has plenty of money...
  • Edgar Ramirez ("Point Break") Down in the basement, Tony wants to be the next Tom Jones, but hasn't made it out of neighborhood gigs.
  • Bradley Cooper ("Burnt") Neil Walker works for QVC, which is a brand-new concept at the time this story takes place.  He takes our heroine on a fascinating tour of the studio where we see Joan Rivers make her jewelry pitch ("watch the hands!"), see the calls pour in (the counter registers them in full sight of the camera), and note the backstage rivalry between the sales people ("I'm your favorite!").
The soap opera cast deserves special mention. As I said, Joy's mother is hooked on a soap, so every time we are in her bedroom, we see the delicious Susan Lucci, Donna Mills and other sweet-spirited icons who depict the heart-rending stories that go on, and on, and on, and on.... They are hilarious.

This is PG-13, and in my opinion it's because of the legal aspects of her success. Expect no profanity, no sweaty bodies, no gunfire, no vehicular mayhem or blowie uppie stuff; just excellent acting. Jennifer Lawrence is spectacularly good in this role and deserves her Oscar nomination. I only wish the script had been better. Maybe the writers were handicapped by the real-life aspect of this story, but our heroine's vicissitudes are endless, particularly when you look at the spectacularly successful Joy Mangano who is the end result. Look her up!
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Here is a preview:
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