Why ‘Joy’ is so Vital

“Don’t ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t. The world doesn’t owe you a thing.”

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In a world where people can care more about what Jennifer Lawrence is wearing than what she has to say, Joy is the required shot in the spine to remind us all how toxic that can be. In a world where ‘We’re top of the crops! Red hot Jennifer Lawrence, Brie Larson and Kate Hudson flash abs as they lead glamour at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards’ may get more attention than anything the trio did or said at the Golden Globes, Joy is vital.

Joy (Lawrence) is the primary wage earner for her extended family and facilitates her mother’s soap opera hibernation, her ex-husband’s fantasising and the rest of her family’s inattention, whilst raising two children. Joy tells of a woman, under the collective thumb of a poisonous family, rallying against the world through her spirit and determination. Through her resilience, patience and forgiveness, Joy’s success is all the more cathartic. Joy becomes the tale of a woman in control of her own life, liberty and destiny.

It is not only the excellent screenplay that spits in the eye of this injustice, Jennifer Lawrence herself is the perfect person to fight this bout. There is a debate in Joy over whether the titular character should be wearing a skirt to help sell more mops. Joy is told in no uncertain terms: “You’re never going to make it in a man’s world dressed like that.”

Lawrence, less Joy in this moment, rejects the opinions of Bradley Cooper’s conservative conformist and the heavily tanned saleswomen judging her, stating calmy, quietly and with conviction: “I wear a blouse and I wear pants. That’s what I wear.”

Joy keeps her sense of person. She does not change, she does not fold to the pressures around her. Her success comes from her unrelenting ambition and unwavering individuality. Joy states that it is not the clothes a woman wears that validates her. It is not how good she looks in Gucci that we should be primarily concerned about.

It will always be appreciated when celebrities dress well and as long as this is appreciated in reasoned terms, it isn’t hurting anyone. But when a scarlet Dior dress can threaten to upstage the amazing work Lawrence has achieved yet again, then it may be time to look inward. This is not a radical opinion, but one Joy importantly reinforces at this time of the year.

Lawrence, aside from all the awards, is becoming, scratch that, has become a strong, unique, standalone female for a generation of young people to admire. She may not be perfect; she may not get everything right but who the hell cares? Through her sheer humanity, she has overtaken Katniss Everdeen and is her own icon, beacon and role model. We need to ensure that nothing relegates this into the background, including whose shoes she’s wearing. For, as is said in Joy, “This is a special power.”


Images courtesy of Joy and texasartfilm respectively.

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3 thoughts on “Why ‘Joy’ is so Vital

  1. Glad to see this film, and the work of Lawrence in it, getting some much deserved praise. It feels many people were really disappointed with this movie.

    • It does and I don’t think that’s totally unfair. This is by no mean O. Russell’s finest and I think that has frustrated people, especially as it featured essentially the same cast again. Still, I thought it was an important reminder of how we should view leading ladies in the industry.

  2. Pingback: Top 5: January ’16 | Wilson Reviews

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