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By Heinrich Domingo

In a patriarchal consumerist world, there is little space for women. The film, loosely based on actual events, chronicles how a divorced mother of two struggles to enter the world she does not fit in.  It uses the commendable performances from its cast while loudly announcing a strong stance against gender discrimination. It is a movie that is fun, entertaining, and satisfying to watch.

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Joy lives a life that wastes her potential. She is an inventor and she works as a booking clerk for an airline. As she tries her way into business and commerce, she realizes that the opportunities are exclusive for the tough guys. Her journey upward the ladder of success can be inspiring especially for underprivileged women. This is a story that tackles not only the development of gender discourse but also the development of societies we live in.

Flaunted in the movie is its high caliber cast. Jennifer Lawrence (playing Joy Mangano) once again takes the center stage while portraying an ingenious strong woman. Joining him are equally competent actors Robert De Niro (playing Rudy Mangano) and Bradley Cooper (playing Neil Walker). This ensemble of cast might be too familiar for moviegoers who have seen the much-acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook. Yet, these actress and actors showed off another performance apt for their characters and which can still excite the audience.

Joy tells a rags-to-riches story which proves that hard work can overcome privileges. This plot is saleable to anyone who dreams to be successful. Hence, viewers who love to watch underdog-turned-millionaire narratives can surely be delighted.

Yet, this nature of the storyline also puts the movie under bigger problems. Since Joy follows the typical progression of rags-to-riches stories, the viewers have set expectations and ask for specific timing. In the story, the female protagonist is facing bankruptcy, is failed by her sister, and is turned down by her father. The expected response of retaliation came too slow. Instead of seeing a raging woman who has been deceived by her own family members, we see a protagonist crying and accepting a defeat. Surely, there are several viewpoints to tell a story, but for viewers who have been accustomed to seeing pieces like this, the formula is rigid and defined.

Overall, the movie is light to watch and is commendable for championing the idea that everyone has the equal chance to reach their dreams. It is one film that you can add in your list of feel good films with powerful relevant message.

3 stars

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