Entrepreneurship imbued my childhood with its autonomous magic. Did I hear my father boast about being his own boss? Probably. In college, my lover was a much older man who taught me that people would buy anything for a buck, sight unseen. We'd play the spontaneous game "Business Opportunity" where one of us would have sudden inspiration on a need as yet unmet for the American public.
I also have a soft spot for dysfunctional families. In novels and movies, the more dysfunctional the better: makes me and mine appear oh so normal. No wonder my heart raced for Joy Mangano, my hero, in the movie JOY, directed by David O. Russell, as she leapt the tallest building and overcame monsters to reach her goal. The tall building was the fact that she had no money. The monsters? Covered above in the word family. The movie also stars heart throb(s) Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. They never disappoint.
Joy had four generations of dysfunction to navigate, all living in the same house along with her ex-husband and their three children. She has a brilliant idea for a domestic convenience and as often happens with successful entrepreneurs: she's in the right place at the right time, and most important-she knows it. QVC is seguing into the Home Shopping Network and Joy not only believes in her invention but she refuses to be passive when confronted with the chicanery of the business world and the negativity of her own family, especially her dad's (Robert De Niro.)
Some of my friends wanted a romance to blossom between Neil (Cooper) and Joy (Lawrence). While there's an intense connection between the two, Joy didn't let that possibility distract her from her goal. You go, girl!
The story has a happy ending, although it's not entirely bloodless. We don't get to see Joy battle her family for control of her business, but when we're told they tried, it doesn't come as a surprise. Joy doesn't let it happen. Do you have any idea what it takes to love your family, but not let their misinformed jealousy and bitterness control you?
The bloodletting is for another chapter. This is a story of a woman conquering her inner fears and becoming more. In It's a Wonderful Life James Stewart conquers his own inner demons and the movie became a Christmas classic.
Christmas is a good time for happy endings. Joy, the movie is in theaters on December 25.