Why ‘Joker’ is an Important Film in Today’s Society

Last month, the highly anticipated Joker movie came out, and during the first few weeks of showing, you pretty much couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without hearing about it. Even makeup artists on Instagram were nonstop creating looks for it, and as an avid beauty follower myself, I got burnt out on seeing the same look and hearing about the same movie over and over again. Even so, I went to go see it- wondering if it would live up to the hype. And after watching the movie, I understand why it was everywhere.

 

I have to advise you that this film isn’t for the easily unnerved. Even me, who isn’t usually bothered by most films, found myself feeling uncomfortable while watching certain scenes in this movie. Not because of gore or an excessive amount of violence or especially disturbing events (although quite a few disturbing events do occur), but because I felt myself feeling for our main character, “Joker”, better known during the film as Arthur Fleck. As the movie unfolds, we learn exactly what turned our character to madness and the crimes we learn of him committing. What I found most powerful in the film is for once, this film doesn’t demonize the villain, rather it shows us what brought this innocent person into becoming a monster. We watch the creation of a villian from an innocent person, as a result of untreated mental illness and from the hands of a cruel and unforgiving world. 

 

Joker brings up the topic of mental illness and how it often goes untreated, and if treated, often not treated correctly. As our main character Arthur loses his treatment for his mental illness due to a cut in state funding, he is left only for the world around him to help him heal- and as you could imagine, the society in which Arthur is living in isn’t the most caring. Instead of helping or acting neutral to those in need, we see the cruel way in which people act towards the ill, which helps in driving the plot as this cruel treatment is what aids in sending Arthur closer to a psychotic break, leading to his creation of the “Joker”, an alter-ego villain. 

 

This film is realistic, telling us the harsh truth in the lives of those suffering with a mental illness, and the way society expects them to behave. 

 

One quote in the film stuck out to me and that wraps up the sad reality of this issue into a single sentence, as Arthur wrote in his journal “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t”. 

Although I would never condone such violence as what’s shown in the film under any circumstances, after watching Joker I felt impacted. As hard of a film it is to watch, it shows a side of mental illness that films rarely ever show (while adding it’s own cinematic twists on the subject). And because of that, I found this film to be important in today’s damaged society; and hope that somehow, someway, it can bring awareness and hope in such a dark issue we are facing.