“When someone sees a weakness in you, turn that weakness into a strength,” so begins the movie’s prologue. This movie is inspired by true stories of outstanding women, and Joy in particular.
Joy lives with her grandmother, mother and her children (a three-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl). Her parents have been divorced for several years and her dad comes home to stay with her when he is ‘returned’ by his girlfriend. Joy’s ex-husband also lives in the basement of the house. She has a half sister from her father’s earlier marriage. Her best friend since she was a kid is Jackie, and it is at one of her parties that Joy met her her husband (who was one of the singers that night). This being the case, there is a lot of music throughout the movie, at least 43 of them. They are all beautiful tunes (eg Something Stupid, which Joy sings in one scene; To Love Somebody, a Bee Gees classic, It’s A Good Life and Young At Heart, both recorded by Tony Bennet, When You Wish Upon A Star, a timeless classic, Christmas songs like Winter Wonderland, gospels, Spanish songs, Flamenco music, Tango music, Cha-cha music, the well-known Italian song La Paloma and more).
Joy’s father hooks up with a widow who invites the family to her 55-inch sailboat. On board, glasses are shattered and red wine is spilt. Joy’s hands are badly cut when she tries to mop up the mess. During her recuperation period, she takes her daughter’s crayons and starts designing and drawing and comes up with the idea of a self-spinning mop. It becomes a runaway success on the QVC ( Quality-Value-Convenience) shopping channel, thanks to Neil the executive who gives Joy a chance to sell the mop ‘which she invented because it’s better than anything out there’.
Yet Joy has to face betrayal, have her idea stolen and face the prospect of bankruptcy. It is a great learning journey : she does not give in and finds a way out. When she eventually succeeds, she makes sure she pays it forward by ensuring young women inventors are given a chance to showcase their talent. Her ex-husband is still her best friend and adviser.
All the songs and music are well chosen to aptly enhance the tone and mood of the movie, whether it is an ostinato or a melodious tune played by a solo piano, a flamenco guitar, a cello, a double bass or the full orchestra or a band, whether it is played with accelerando or crescendo.
I enjoy this movie so much that I’ll probably watch it again when the DVD is available for loan at the library. There are simply too many movies to watch in the cinemas during this pre-Oscar season!