I finally got around to watching Joker. The latest rendition with Joaquin Phoenix.
I was never someone who was into comic books or superheros but I knew who the Joker was. Joker is one of Batman’s enemies. Joker is a bad guy. Joker is a villian.
Until…. I saw this movie.
It is not clear if this film was meant to be an origin story. I honestly don’t know any of the Joker’s history. So for me, it was a origin story. And shockingly, this Joker’s story broke my heart.
Not too long ago at work someone told me that “someone dressed as the joker is not a good look.” “That the Joker movie encouraged gun violence”. Even then I was a bit confused by it because what limited history of the Joker that I knew was not “encouraging gun violence”. My thought process is that just because a film has gun usage does not mean it is encouraging it. Anyway, I wanted to see the movie before I heard those comments, so after hearing that I wanted to see it even more.
In this film, Joker was a guy named Arthur Fleck. It is pretty obvious from the get go that Arthur is mentally sick. But he seems to have it somewhat under control. He dreams of being a comedian and really thinks he has the chops to do it.
It is a slow moving story. I almost gave up on it and went to bed – THAT slow moving. But eventually the viewer finds out he was severely abused by one of his mother’s boyfriends when he was a child which we can only assume made him the way that he is. And you start to see him unwind; you watch Arthur transition into the Joker. You watch him tell his truth. That people were not nice to him. That if he were the one dead in the street, instead of the three wealthy men he killed, people would walk right by him instead of all the media coverage that these three guys were getting. He called out the talk show host that invited him on to his show to obviously only make fun of him. One of the few people he let live – one of the few people that was nice to him. Walked right out of the apartment, no questions asked.
While all the attention he was receiving was negative, he finally felt seen. Any attention, even negative, is better than no attention.
Arthur/Joker is a man who got fed up. Joker was a man who society gave up on.
Joker is a obviously a broken man. A man that did not get the help he needed. And it broke my heart.
I firmly believe that mental health is not treated as a serious disease. It is overlooked and too easily dismissed. And this film showed the extreme of what happens when mental health is not taken seriously, IMO.
I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it’s a fucking comedy.Joker
Joaquin Phoenix did an excellent job as the Joker. Watching the extra clips on the DVDs I am impressed by what the entire crew did. It is a beautifully dark film that really makes the Joker seem like a real person.