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Following a series of successful achievements in storytelling, David O. Russel returns to prominence with Joy, a compelling biographical film about a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) holding her family together and pursuing the invention of the miracle mop. While the story is unconventional to say the least, the characters are deeply compelling, and as always O. Russel pulls excellent performances from his cast.

In her third collaboration with O. Russel, Jennifer Lawrence continues to show her range in one of her best performances to date. While the role is thankless at times, it requires both charisma and vulnerability, something that Lawrence excels at, more or less keeping the movie together. Robert De Niro is also great in one of his best performances in years, and similarly displays more depth to an otherwise standard role. Bradley Cooper and Edgar Ramirez also excel in smaller roles, and while the roles are already fleshed out well in the script, the actors’ personalities make the most of their minimal screen time.

As with many of Russel’s films, there’s many quick cuts, montages, nonlinear storytelling, and extravagant dream sequences. While at points this may seem like chaos, Russel pulls through like a master and pulls a cheeky commentary about the American dream, filled with expert dialogue and great performances. Grade: B+

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