I’m currently studying in English so I thought I could upload an english post. I’m sorry my English is far from perfect but I hope you will still like this post.
Three weeks ago I went to the cinema and saw the Oscar nominated film Joy. The film was released on the 13th of December in the United States. It is the story about a strong woman living in the 90s called Joy who is trying to found her own business despite her family’s lack of understanding.
The main character is played by the successful actress Jennifer Laurence. Further important characters which are manly Joy’s family members are played among others by Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Edgar Ramirez. But not only the film’s cast is famous also the film’s director David O. Russell is well known. Russell also wrote the screenplay for the story. Producers are John Davis, Megan Ellison, Jonathan Gordon, Ken Mok and again David O. Russell who are all famous and successful producers.
When there are so many known and successful people involved it is no surprise that this work already won some awards and was nominated for further prizes. Jennifer Laurence won the Golden Globe Award for best actress and is now nominated for an Oscar as actress in a leading role. This would be her fourth Oscar.
But enough with the boring details. How is the film actually? How does it make you feel?
One could describe the story as boring because it “only” describes a woman’s life. There is no action, not many funny situation and during the first half of the film everything seems depressing. But this film makes you feel something. Joy always did what her friends and family expected. And while I watched her I got a bit upset myself and wanted her to have a better life. One day Joy decides to do her own thing and tries to become an inventor. She tries over and over again to sell her invention. The spectator feels her disappointments and successes. Another unique thing about this work is that there is no love story at all. But it is not missing and there’s still a lot of emotion.
The film’s atmosphere made me feel very comfortable because the 90s were well expressed and as the story took place in winter everything was wintry and festive. I can’t remember the music which was used so I guess it was nothing special and not very noticeable. But I remember that there are some scenes in which there is no music at all. This is quite rare in mainstream films nowadays so this silence is very effective. It gives the words which are spoken or the actions which are done in those silent moments a bigger meaning.
The colors and filters which are used change between very warm and cold. Most of the time scenes inside are brown and orange so a comfortable and warm atmosphere is created. The scenes outside are ice blue or cold white to create a wintry and frosty feeling.
This film is not thrilling, politically important or socially critical but still worth seeing. Or maybe this is the reason why this film is so nice to watch. It doesn’t want to be super dramatic or critical. It is just a nice film to watch. Without having to think about it. Still it makes you think and maybe also reflect on your own life. I’m not quite sure what the story’s aim is but maybe it’s just about doing what you want in life and not what everybody expects you to do. If that is the film’s goal it succeeded. Because the film didn’t only make me think about what I want in life, it made me feel that I want to do what I want to do and not somebody else wants me to do.
While I was thinking and researching about the film I found an interview by David O. Russell in which he said that his film is about “the soul of someone (…) and what moves them to break out and create something new”. So maybe the work’s aim is just to show that. Furthermore Russell said that the film is about “finding the magical in something that is ordinary”.
In the interview David O. Russell says that every film is for him about the details, so about the way how the people live and talk for example. That concerns not only Joy but also his other films like The Fighter or American Hustle. That is the connection between his movies and this can be described as his style. This style can be found easily in Joy because one gets to know a lot about the characters, the way they live, they talk, they work and how they are.
But one cannot only compare this film to Russel’s other works but also to biographical movies in general. When I think of recent mainstream biographical films I think immediately of The Aviator or The Wolf of Wall Street. In comparison with these two movies Joy has less action and thrill. That is because the focus of this movie lies on the characters and their dialogue. Especially compared to The Wolf of Wall Street it is clear that the film with Jennifer Lauwrence is deeper and the personalities are illustrated better than the superficial characters in The Wolf of Wall street.
An explicit influence on the film Joy by another work is not clear. Yet it is known that David O. Russel has been influenced by Polanski’s Chinatown and Goodfellas by Scorsese. Goodfellas was shot in 1990 – at the same time Joy takes place, maybe O Russell was influenced by that.
The other way around I don’t think David O. Russel’s film has yet influenced other filmmakers or artists because the work is still new. We have a similar situation with the critics. But the film was generally rated somewhere in the middle between very good and very bad. Some critics commented that Jennifer Laurence’s performance was great but the film’s story is sometimes a bit weak.
If you are interested in simple but still great films and don’t get bored when nothing explodes you should definitely watch this film.