SPOILERS ALERT So it’s already been about two months since the movie came out… but there’s just so much about this film to talk about.
On its premiere October 4, 2019, the movie has been highly anticipated for months since its first trailer reveal. Showing Joker’s point of view and whole history and past of how he became the way he is. Discussing mental illnesses and the violence and chaos he ends up creating.
Yet, in the end, we’re not entirely sure if anything actually happened… the ending scene where Arthur Fleck is found in the mental hospital with a psychiatrist, viewers begin to question if anything in the movie actually happened the way he portrayed it or if it was all just his imagination (based on his mental illness such as pseudobulbar affect)
Just like in our society, mental illnesses are portrayed as “crazy” and are, sadly, either bullied or isolated from society.
On the contrary, this movie perfectly balances multiple emotions and displays mental illnesses as accurate as possible. With many repetitive scenes with a mix of slow and fast-paced movements, so the audience can sympathize with the main protagonist themselves.
Joaquin Phoenix (Arthur Fleck), himself, has been ridiculed for displaying “too” much of his passion into a character. Which fits perfectly to play the role of the joker. Where he, too, has been made fun of, for trying to pursue a career in comedy.
The “Clown” Protests
The “Clown” Protests may as well be a reference to the protests in our own world, such as the ones (this year) in Hong Kong or Chile. This is actually interesting, implying that the film may have predicted the “protests” earlier since they started this year. But that’s a theory for another day.
The “Killer Clowns”
The “Killer Clowns” may be a reference to the killer clowns incident in the 2016-2017 worldwide viral scenario where people dressed up as clowns would go around chasing people in spite of fear. Making clowns one of the most fearful creatures on the list, along with spiders and ghosts.
Hate feeds on Reaction/Media
The whole reason the chaos begins to spread and the whole “clown” protests begins is because of the media. Media has a lot of control over almost everything we see.
We as civilians don’t know about what actually happens in the situation if we weren’t there to see it first hand. Because the news always finds a way to get more views and will say or write anything to do so. Spreading hateful outrages, being the true cause of all of the negativity in the film.
Similar to the indie game “We Become What We Behold” where you act like a news reporter and are tasked to take photos of “interesting” things (which are always problematic causes) but I won’t spoil the game for you if you were to play it yourself. So here’s a link if you would like to play: https://ncase.itch.io/wbwwb
Underlying Message of “Trust”
At the beginning of the film, we find Arthur Fleck taking care of his mother, Penny Fleck, who is portrayed (at first) as a weak, vulnerable, poor, sad woman who had to deal with and take care of her sick child.
Most viewers might even pity her for how the situation seems, as first. However, as the story progresses, we begin to see that Penny isn’t as innocent as she was. Instead, she is found to be delusional and also mentally ill.
As she and her jerk of a boyfriend have adopted a young boy as their son, only to abuse and harm him in every way possible. Suddenly explaining why Arthur has the illness he has now.
But Arthur doesn’t believe this, as he has trusted this woman his whole life, and decides to confront his “real” dad Thomas Wayne (as said in Penny’s pity letter) about the truth. Once confronted, Thomas Wayne appears to be a rich man.
Denying any details in order to protect his reputation. Hiding the fact that a broke, sick man like Arthur could be his son.
However, once Arthur goes into more research on his “mom” he soon realizes that what Thomas Wayne has said was true. Ruining the last speck of trust he’s ever had in his life and proceeds to kill Penny.
With the film now out for about a month, there have been many enjoyable memes as well. All which I personally enjoy, so here are some if you don’t know them already:
Thank you so much for reading! Comment down below your thoughts on the film and its overall theme!