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Joy

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Austria
·
2018

1h 39m

Director Sudabeh Mortezai
Starring Anwulika Alphonsus, Mariam Precious Sanusi, Angela Ekeleme, Gift Igweh
Genre Drama
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Joy, a young Nigerian woman living in Vienna, performs sex work in order to not only pay off her outstanding debts, but to support her extended family living in Nigeria and her young daughter. When Joy is instructed to coach Precious, a reluctant, teenage Nigerian girl, in the ways of the trade, she is confronted by the fact that she could be caught in the vicious cycle of sex trafficking.

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80

Variety by Guy Lodge

If all the performances here feel lived-in, it’s because they’re literally just that — but even within that context, Alphonsus is an electric find, silently signaling Joy’s clashing moral impulses with a complexity that would defeat many a professional.
90

Screen Daily by Nikki Baughan

Centred around two exceptional performances, and taking an intimate, documentary-like approach to the drama, Joy effectively explores the devastating traps of abuse and extortion without ever becoming exploitative itself.
80

Los Angeles Times by Robert Abele

Both riveting character study and experiential glimpse at the Africa-to-Europe sex slave trade, Austrian-Iranian filmmaker Sudabeh Mortezai’s “Joy” builds its reservoir of sadness with pulsing efficiency.