Joy (the movie) is an interesting exploration of what happens:

  • When you forget who you are

  • When you forget what you love doing

  • When you become what your family demands of you

    and then finally . . .

  • When you reconnect with what makes your heart sing with joy and you back yourself

When I watched Joy (the movie), my Kinesiology spider senses were tingling. Watching it, I was “well that’s going to cause problems, and that’s going to cause problems etc etc”. I will delve into some core themes that I saw, because they are similar to what clients come see me about.

Childhood Dream Crushed

We get to see a glimmer of what Joy used to be like as a young girl. As narrated by her Grandmother, Joy was always using her imagination, creating things. We see Joy telling a story, using the paper cut-outs that she had created. And then her parents come in, arguing, divvying up the children like they were commodities. Rudy (Joy’s father) is trying to grab both of the kids, tug-o-warring with them with her mother. During this melee, Joy’s paper cut-outs got either destroyed or trampled on.

This, along with having to look after her soap opera addicted mother, sends the young Joy into a funk. Into survival mode, where she has to look after both her mother and her father. As Joy said, she could have gone to college in Boston, but she “had to” stay and look after her parents

  • Having to keep the peace between the two of them

  • Having to “do everything” for her mother, as well as her husband, children, and on occasions her father again

  • Having to be the responsible adult for the family, even when she was a young child

A Reawakening 

I found the funeral scene to be very powerful. Staged like a soap opera, Joy gets dragged into the church. The death being mourned is her childhood dreams. As young Joy says to her:

“Remember what was lost 17 years ago. 17 years – think about it!!! We’ve been hiding for 17 years. When you’re hiding, you’re safe, because people can’t see you. But the funny thing is that you’re hiding from yourself as well”

I found this scene to be really powerful. It’s not often that we get wake-up calls in our lives to get us back on track. A point in your life

  • When you remember who you actually are, not who other people want you to be.

  • When you remember what makes you happy,

  • When you remember what you are here to do

And that’s what this scene did. After this dream, Joy comes up with the idea for her mop.

When you have terrible parents

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy – what a classic example of an appalling father. Although there was one or two times that Rudy was supportive, for the majority of the movie he is narcissistic. Rudy is constantly criticising Joy and her life choices, from her getting married to Tony (before and after the wedding) to when he moves back in with her, to that horrific scene in the hotel in California. And I quote:

“It’s my fault, I gave her the confidence to think that she was just more than an unemployed housewife selling plastic kitchen stuff to other unemployed housewives on a junk cable channel. It’s my fault, it’s not your fault Honey. It was my mistake to make her think that she was more than she was. She pressured herself into doing something that she shouldn’t have done. It was wrong of you to put that pressure on yourself. It was wrong of us to put that pressure on you”

What a way to tell your daughter that she is useless. If you have had someone in your life, day in day out criticising you like this, your self-esteem and self-confidence is going to be zero or close to it.

Peggy, Peggy, green with envy

Whenever I saw Peggy on the screen, I saw a big ball of seething jealousy. All through the movie, you can see Peggy’s bitterness and jealousy towards Joy.

  • When they were young girls

  • With the statements that Peggy makes towards Joy

  • The nasty things that Peggy is saying to Joy’s daughter Christie about her

  • In the business, Peggy is so jealous of Joy’s idea and that it is getting financed that it just radiates from her. And she tries to meddle in it with disastrous results

  • And honestly at the end, it didn’t surprise me that she had tried to sue Joy (along with her father and Trudy)

People like Peggy are toxic, they literally try to suck all of the joy (excuse the pun) out of your life. They will constantly criticise you, and in some cases will actively try to sabotage your life. My advice to is to get these people out of your life as soon as possible. If they are family, then try to minimise contact.

All that being said, I really did enjoy the movie and I hope that you did too. People often ask me what I do as a Kinesiologist and an easy answer is that! I heal the wounds that an upbringing like that causes. I help people regain their confidence and rediscover their life purpose.


Liesl is a Holistic Kinesiologist who excels at identifying and clearing any limiting beliefs or blocks stopping you from achieving the life that you want. She is committed to supporting you along every part of your journey. If you would like to know Liesl can help you visit the what I specialise in page. If you are wondering how Kinesiology works, visit the what is Kinesiology page.