By Felicia Webster
Joker, action,psychological,drama, directed by Todd Phillips and screenplay by Scott Silver. Released in theaters on October 4, runs 2 hours and 2 minutes. Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a fun loving yet mentally disturbed man who works as a clown and also holds advertising signs. He lives in a ran down apartment complex with his sick mother whom he cares for. Gotham City, has had a spike in crime and sadly, Arthur falls victim to the city’s latest attacks.
Life has been everything but happy for Arthur and soon things will only get worse. His pay is barely enough to keep his head above water which contributes a lot to his depression. He has a passion to make people smile and hopes to be a comedian someday. Throughout the movie you’ll see a charismatic side of him that interacts with children of all ages, which is usually frowned upon. There’s a deep sadness within him that sometimes causes him to suddenly burst out laughing.
In the movie, Arthur suffers from a uncontrollable condition called Pseudobulbar affect, that causes him to laugh at any random moment. As explained in the movie, the laugher is total opposite of the pain he feels inside. It just so happens to come out in a way of making him seem hysterically happy. Should he have an outburst in public, he has a card on him, explaining his condition. He visits a therapist provided to him by the state’s social services. He smokes, to help calm his nerves and he loves to dance. His therapist advised him to keep up with journal, which he has filled with stand up comedy jokes.
Anti depressants are said to have side effects that consists of insomnia and blurred vision, just to name a few. It explains a scene where Arthur is upset at his mother and it shows when he has blurred vision in that moment. He also had little to no appetite at all til you can see his rib cage. Phoenix loss a tremendous amount of weight to fit the character. There’s a deep sadness in him as you would see him tear up and even try to make himself smile from time to time.
I like how they took their time to build the character for this movie. His depression really begin to set in after he was fired for accidentally dropping a gun out of his pocket that he and gotten from a guy he work with. After losing a job from what he loved to do like performing for sick children, we started to see a more dark side of him. Funds were cut which prevented him from getting his medicine. Desperate to find work and do stand up, he fell into a really bad head space.
On the train ride home after being fired. Once again he was harassed and beaten by three self entitled fools. This time he’d had enough of dealing with that type of treatment from people. He didn’t hesitate to kill them all. The way he made sure they were all dead showed how powerful he felt in that moment.
Arthur is often misunderstood and comes off as a weirdo. You’ll see this in the beginning of the movie on the bus ride scene when a mother ask him to stop bothering her son. That particular scene was the first time he showed us how much he cared about the feeling of others. His neighbor and her daughter took the elevator with him up to their apartment. On the way up he makes funny faces at her daughter that was misunderstood for him being a threat. Some of the guys are flat out jerks who makes fun of him just for being just who he is. He has a quiet side to him and often struggles to be happy. Again, his laughter is often mistaken for happiness when he’s really expressing hurt and pain.
Narcissistic personality is a real mental disorder. What’s great about this movie is that the director wasn’t afraid to give us a real and raw true image of mental illness. The back story to Arthur’s mother was far more than we expected. I mean we knew something is wrong with her but she made it difficult to pinpoint being that she was fully capable of caring for herself. It makes you question her physical ability from one moment to the next. His mother had been manipulating him for the longest. She had him under mind control. He thought he had to stay with her but she was only using him.
Life long Deception and heartache-
The fact that narcissists are incapable of showing empathy, explained the sympathetic and emotional disconnect between the two of them. His mother never showed love and affection towards him. However, she was determined and certain to rekindle a relationship with someone who she hadn’t spoken to in 30 years. Strangely enough, being delusional and desperate to speak to him again, she wrote a letter and urged Arthur to mail it off. He himself also seemed a little delusional by the way he fantasized of having a relationship with the neighbor.
Even though you’re first mind tells you, no way she’d go with him. By the time you realize it was all in his head you’ll start to feel bad for him. I even wanted to tweet her in the middle of the movie and say, if it were real life, I would say thank you for loving him. At that point it became upsetting at the fact that no one loved him. Joaquinn Phoenix really put on an amazing performance playing the the character Arthur Fleck. The remorse he felt wasn’t taken serious which brought him back to a place of not giving a care.
The Joker –
The turning point of this film came in perfect timing. Arthur learned that his father is a well known politician who his mother had worked with all those years ago. He was furious that she had kept his father a secret for so long. He found out where the man lived and learned that his mother was mentally ill and had lied about Arthur’s real father. Heartbroken yet again Arthur was then told get lost and don’t come back. His anger got the best of him after being taunted for having a “crazy mother” he tried to choke the life out of the security guard through the gates.
Throughout the movie he was questioned quite a few times by detectives about the murder of the three guys he killed. The detectives had even questioned his mother which caused her to stroke out. While sitting by his mother’s hospital bedside, he expressed how devastated he was after learning he’d been lied to his whole life. What he does next makes it’s hard for you to feel sorry for him and what he’s been through. Also keep in mind that he has been off his meds since the state closed down it’s mental health services. That doesn’t excuse him for becoming a murderer however, the movie makes you understand the chances of this becoming reality.
After everything he had been through, and all the wrong he had done, he felt like he had nothing else to live for. He started to see his life as nothing more than a joke, based on how he had been treated and lied to. He started to deal with his pain by hurting those who hurt him. He was even invited to the night show which was one of his biggest dreams. But after realizing that no one took him serious or believed in him.. he lost his passion for comedy.
I really love this movie and how well put together it is. Even though it’s based on an origin from one of the comic DC characters, it’s story is one that needs to be told. Mental Illness is real and the conversation should never come to an end. There is a serious lack of compassion in society for those less fortunate. I’m an advocate for mental heath awareness and I highly encourage a strong spiritual connection with the most high. It all starts from the upbringing but it’s never too late to help those who suffer in silence. Like the saying goes, Just because I smile, doesn’t mean I’m happy.