Posts Tagged ‘Isabella Rossellini’

Daring Women

Joy

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Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert de Niro, Edgar Ramirez, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Bradley Cooper, Elisabeth Rohm, Dascha Polanco

Director David O. Russell’s third collaboration with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, Joy is about a feisty daring divorced young mother of two who gambles her entire life savings on her own invention of the Miracle Mop. Loosely based on the true story of Joy Mangano who invented and patented the miracle mop back in the mid-eighties, the film version is a quirky dysfunctional tale of a family who do their best to distract Joy from her primary goal, that of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Joy’s dizzy mother Terry played by Virginia Madsen is engrossed in glossy eighties soap operas while her father Rudy and greying Casanova, wonderfully played by Robert de Niro, his second appearance in a David O. Russell film after Silver Linings Playbook. Joy’s grandmother is the rock of her world, Mimi played by the irrepressible Diane Ladd (Rambling Rose).

When Rudy starts dating a wealthy Italian widow Trudy, beautifully played Isabella Rossellini in one of her most prolific roles yet, Joy seizes upon an opportunity to ask Trudy to invest in her idea of the miracle mop. However after many unsuccessful attempts to sell her product, primarily outside K. Mart, Joy’s ex-husband, the amiable Venezuelan wanna-be singer, Tony played by Edgar Ramirez (Point Break) suggests that they go and approach a Pennsylvania business man directly.

In a series of chance encounters, Joy meets the head buyer for K. Mart the suave and tough Neil Walker, underplayed by Bradley Cooper, who returns for his fourth collaboration with Jennifer Lawrence after Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and Serena. The daring Joy persuades Walker to give her a chance doing a home shopping advert where she can have the golden opportunity to sell the miracle mop to Television consumers a precursor to the Home Shopping Network. Amidst many dodgy business dealings involving elusive suppliers, Joy soon matures into a really tough business woman despite doubts by Trudy who has been her main patron and financial backer.

Joy is an uneven yet quirky film about one daring woman in particular who embraces the American dream, despite the odds and eventually through sheer tenacity succeeds into become a multi-million dollar corporate business woman who embraces the Capitalist work ethic and proves that hard work and determination certainly pays off.

As a film, Joy is by no means David O. Russell’s best work, not nearly outshining Silver Linings Playbook or American Hustle, but what makes the film so watchable and enjoyable is Jennifer Lawrence’s fantastic performance, anchoring the narrative down despite a proliferation of flighty and less reliable characters. It is also refreshing to see Robert de Niro and Isabella Rossellini share so much screen time.

Joy is recommended viewing, a fantastic feel good film with a great supporting cast and a fine truly inspiring performance by Jennifer Lawrence who as usual under the directorial guidance of David O. Russell never disappoints.

 

 

2015 Toronto Film Festival

2015 Toronto International

Film Festival Winners

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Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place every year in September in Toronto, Canada.

Films which premiere at Toronto are often nominated for Academy Awards the following year.

TIFF does not hand out individual prizes for Best Actor or Actress but focuses on amongst others the following awards:
People’s Choice Award & Best Canadian Feature Film

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Opening Night Film: Demotion directed by Jean-Marc Vallee and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper

 

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People’s Choice Award: Room directed by Lenny Abrahamson starring Brie Larson, Joan Allen, William H. Macy and Jacob Tremblay

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Best Canadian Feature Film: Closet Monster directed by Stephen Dunn starring Connor Jessup, Isabella Rosselini, Joanne Kelly and Aaron Abrahams

Source: 2015 Toronto Film Festival

Avoiding the Grey Panthers

Late Bloomers

 

Sharing a wonderfully bitter-sweet moment in the bath

Cast: William Hurt, Isabella Rossellini, Simon Callow, Nicholas Farrell and Joanna Lumley

Director: Julie  Gavras

Late Bloomers directed by Julie Gavras,  seen at the 32nd Durban International Film Festival in July 2011 is a shy perceptive tale about a middle-aged couple, Adam and Mary in London, who are fairly successful yet have inevitably lost touch with each other to such point that they engage in brief affairs to reignite the dormant love that that once cherished. William Hurt always so brilliantly reticent as the semi shy architect who is losing touch with his own potential is pared against the diva of semi-independent cinema Isabella Rossellini who for once takes on a starring role and is suitably anguished as a woman who realizes that the world has moved much faster than she can imagine.

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Ironic for Rossellini the once the gorgeous model for French fashion house Lancome, who has come a long way from her heady debut in David Lynch’s weird and slightly uncompromising tour de force in Blue Velvet and has appeared alongside Meryl Streep in the 90’s satire on plastic surgery Death Becomes Her and more recently as the mother to the anguished Joaquin Phoenix in the Brooklyn based Jewish drama Two Lovers.

William Hurt one of my favourite actors, ever since he appeared in Hector Babenco’s brilliant Kiss of the Spiderwoman is beautifully cast in Late Bloomers as the aging architect who is unwilling to accept the inevitability of early retirement, and in doing so surrounds himself with a batch of young ambitious architects for one of his new projects, the construction of a museum.

Rossellini and Hurt make a fine pair as a couple on the verge of retirement and have to find ways to rediscover the love they once shared for each other. Comic moments are provided by their three thirty something children who decide that a parental intervention is necessary to recapture the love their semi-retired parents once shared.

Suitable foils for Hurt’s melancholic performance is the delightful Simon Callow, seldom seen on film since the collapse of the highly collaborative Merchant Ivory films.  Mary’s confidante is played with relish by Joanna Lumley ex (AbFab) who also happens to be the leader of the Grey Panthers, senior citizens’ rights and activities group. A wonderful moment  in the film is when Adam suitably horrified at the prospect of the Grey Panthers invited by the unsuspecting Mary descend on his home, makes a hasty retreat to his office for refuge and a brief reinvention with youth is part of the charm and delight of Late Bloomers.

Late Bloomers is a quirky comedy about a successful yet aberrant couple whose marriage is near disaster only to be saved by the onset of a funeral, to bring all concerned back to the reality of life, commitment and death and will definitely appeal to viewers within the fifty plus age group.

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