All hail Jennifer Lawrence. She opened David O. Russell’s “Joy” with a $17 million weekend. JLaw is now a bona fide movie star at the box office, the first female since Julia Roberts who is really going to make a run of it.
Lawrence already has an Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” and box office success with “The Hunger Games.” But these were ensemble films in which Lawrence was featured strongly.
With “Joy,” the movie is really built around her, and the marketing was on her shoulders. She’s surrounded by great actors like Robert DeNiro and Bradley Cooper, and all those wonderful ladies like Diane Ladd, Elisabeth Rohm, and Isabella Rossellini.
In the end though, selling the story of Joy Mangano and her Miracle Mop was all about Lawrence. The audience bought it. I did, too. Rossellini is the breakout surprise, as well.
Lawrence is a likely Oscar nominee for “Joy,” too. I’d put her in with Cate Blanchett, Charlotte Rampling, Brie Larson, and my favorite choice, Lily Tomlin. That’s my Dream Team of lead actresses for 2016.
“Joy” itself has divided critics, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Russell is tremendous at directing these screwball family comedies with dramatic underpinnings. I’d like to see him try something more like his “Three Kings” next. But “Joy” is a bright spot in a season of serious (and joyless) films.