David O. Russell has teamed up with the team of Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro twice before this film to create some really good films in Silver Linings Playbook as well as American Hustle. Both films garnered high marks of praise and was a force to be reckoned with during Oscar season, with that in mind this film was hotly anticipated as it has a lot of the same talent as those movies previously had. However, there isn't much to really remember out of this film aside from the performance of Jennifer Lawrence. The plot is a bit empty as it is hard to create an engaging story around the premise of a hard working matriarch who rises to fame due to her creating a self-wringing mop, now known as the Miracle Mop. Of course they attempt to by way of subplots involving her family which fall flat on it's face.
The plot follows Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) who is a divorced mother of two, working for a nearby Airliner. At home she is constantly taking care of everyone ranging from her mother (Virginia Madsen) who refuses to leave her bed and wastes away watching soap operas. Joy's mother also berates her trying to get her to stop pursuing her dreams of being a successful inventor. Joy's sister, Peggy (Elisabeth Rohm), is a big overachiever who largely has been able to make due based off of her own father's car shop constantly takes any chance to humiliate Joy. Her father, Rudy (Robert De Niro), who is now moving in with them after his most recent wife left him. Lastly, she also has her ex-husband Tony (Edgar Ramirez) living in her basement much to the dismay of Rudy. Her grandmother also lives with her and constantly builds her up explaining to her that one day she will be a successful inventor as well as a strong independent woman. Eventually, of course she does get there even despite her families continued attempts to bring her down.
The big draw of this film will ultimately be that of Jennifer Lawrence's performance in the title role. Her ability to portray a woman of any age is second to none and shows how mature she is for her age. If this role was in the hand's of another extra, I don't think this movie would have been nearly as enjoyable. She managed to find her way into just about every scene and we should be thankful of that as all the other characters in the film were so horribly unlikable that it would turn you off from the movie completely. Luckily, again this film had Jennifer Lawrence giving arguably her best performance to date and effectively saving this film.
Elisabeth Rohm and Robert De Niro's characters are the most blatant offenders of the claim that the characters outside of Joy were unlikable. Rohm's Peggy would constantly humiliate Joy or attempt to undermine any shot she had success in favor of her own. De Niro's Rudy had his own car shop but it has largely gone under due to how old it is, thus he was also very hesitant for Joy to get her hopes up for success instead of being supportive of his own daughter. It is really suprising to see this kind of thing in a David O. Russell film as to this point when you look at his films he is known for creating very likable characters. You'd be hard pressed to think of a character that is unlikable through Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. As unlikely as it may be, this film may have simply been just to let Jennifer Lawrence spread her wings as an actress and show just how talented she truly is.