Joy is an emotionally damaged young woman of eighteen, who was given up at birth, to grow up in homes and with foster families. She lives on the fringes of society, getting by on benefits ... See full summary »
Joy is an emotionally damaged young woman of eighteen, who was given up at birth, to grow up in homes and with foster families. She lives on the fringes of society, getting by on benefits and earning a little extra by playing the accordion in the subway. In addition, she is a skilled shoplifter and has never been caught. The film follows her closely during her dogged search for her unknown biological mother. Joy has a rather distant quality and the only times we see her animated is during her obsessive attempts to discover the identity and address of her mother. She clings to her conviction that she was the product of a loving relationship and that is why her mother called her Joy. This belief is all she has to hang onto in life. Her other activities revolve around her friend, Denise (16), who has got pregnant on purpose and is living in the home from which Joy was expelled because of bad behaviour, and her boyfriend Momo (21), a second-generation immigrant who was born and bred in ... Written by
The film had almost no publicity at it's debut. When it was picked up by the major Dutch talk show "Pauw & Wittenman" because of his merits, and the story of the the debuting leading roll player Samira Maas, it had already almost disappeared from rotation. I saw that show, wanted to see the film and had only the choice between Saturday morning 11.00u., Sunday morning 11.00u.and Wednesday at 12.00u. after which it disappeared from rotation. I sat in the movie theater at Saturday morning with 1 other viewer at an unchristian time when one should hate going to a movie, but I never regretted it. In fact I am browsing the internet at this moment to see if the DVD isn't out yet, because I want to see the film again.
The movie has two great assets: The performance of Samira Maas & the intense colors it is filmed in.
Samira plays a foster child curious to find her mother. She is not a professional actress, but in fact a foster child herself, who is studying law school and volunteering at an organization who informs about & supports the rights of foster children. The under-cooled "anger against society" that she ventilates in her roll sparkle from her eyes & jump down from the screen. Yet it's a roll & not her character, nor her personal life experience. Although her job probably prepared her richly for it and made per the perfect fit for the roll, she nevertheless shows an amazing natural talent in acting and has a mesmerizing fresh & brutal screen-presence.
The second great asset of the film is the way light is used. By over-lightning, the colors get a bleak but immensely bright character, that brilliantly fit the content & the atmosphere of the story: young women on the verge of adulthood, with inner pain & need of attention, struggling to get their life rolling and finding closure on their past of being abandoned and having to grow up in an institute for foster children, but nevertheless going firmly forward.
Joy is a small film constantly breathing in the neck of it's actors, and thus concentrating on their mindset and psychological development, rather then on a big story or beautiful sets. No murders, crimes, guns, just a natural psychological development, dramatized in a human story dealing with the anger issues that belong to the pain of abandonment, in it's own sort of controlled, fruitful way.
The plot is simple but effective: Young girl determent to find her mother, yet afraid to contact the person who she thinks is her mother, starts spying on her to discover who she herself is.
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