In the past, Jennifer Lawrence has done something that bugs me—she downplays her ambition. By her early twenties, she bagged two franchises and multiple Oscar nominations and became one of the most famous and successful young actresses in the world. None of that happens by accident. It takes considerable ambition and drive to achieve those kinds of goals. But she would play off her success with a shrug and a goofy face and act like it was all just a happy accident, and that always irked me. Society frequently punishes women for being openly ambitious, so I understand not wanting to bait that particular bear, but every time she’d brush off her accomplishments with another goofy “little ole me” moment, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.
But then she wrote about the wage gap, and she specifically addresses the pressure to be accommodating and not rock the boat or present herself in a way that “scares” men. And she says she’s done trying to play that game, and that she’s going to advocate for herself because no one is going to advocate for her. (And that’s from the privileged position of a successful actress, who many people have a vested interest in keeping happy. For the rest of us, it’s an even tougher game, which is why shedding light on these issues is so important. Awareness breeds understanding which brings about change.) I like this newly emboldened Jennifer Lawrence. I think this version of JLaw has always been in there, but now she’s less afraid about letting us see her.
Her next collaboration with David O. Russell, Joy, shares these themes, and the new trailer is all about JLaw’s character, Joy Mangano, and her ambitions, her desire for more, and the applied intelligence and drive that leads to her inventing the Miracle Mop and starting a business. I LOVE the way Lawrence looks in this—steely, unapologetic, TOUGH. I’ve never been that impressed with Katniss, frankly—she lost me when she let herself be shut out of rebellion planning meetings, Princess Leia would NEVER—but Joy is a JLaw heroine I can get behind. The final clip of Joy telling someone to never speak for her again is straight Mags Bennett badassery.
Since New New Star Wars broke the internet when tickets went on sale, I’ve been eyeing the December release schedule and wondering which movies end up shuffling off Christmas Day releases in order to get out of the box office black hole that movie will create in its second week. I had Joy tagged as a potential mover because there hasn’t been so much advertising that it wouldn’t be too big of a headache to shuffle around, but this trailer doubles down on the Christmas release date, so I guess it’s not moving. That’s pretty bold given the competition, but “bold” is Jennifer Lawrence’s new middle name.