The Craziness of the Joker

Lately, you have probably heard people raving about the new movie Joker. If you haven’t seen it, be warned: this article contains multiple spoilers.

There have been many movies made about the infamous Joker, but in my opinion, none of them top this one. This is the first movie that breaks down the history of the Joker, whose real name in this movie is Arthur Fleck. You slowly see why he turns into the Joker as the movie goes on, and why the Joker is just as crazy as he is. The film has been a hit—according to Deadline, it made $96 million just within its opening week. 

Arthur Fleck was never born to be normal—he was diagnosed with Pseudobulbar Affect, or PBA. This is a condition that causes uncontrollable crying and/or laughing that happens suddenly and frequently, according to PBAInfo

Fleck works as a clown, but his dream is to become a stand-up comedian. His job doesn’t pay much, and you usually don’t see him eat, causing him to become sickly skinny. He lives with and takes care of his sick mother, Penny. He is also required to visit social services for medication. One day, on the job, Arthur is severely beaten by a group of teenagers.

After hearing of the attack, Randall, a coworker of his, gives him a gun for protection. The gun falls from his pocket at work, an incident that leaves Arthur without a job. On the way home, Arthur is still in his clown makeup when he is beaten up by three businessmen. In response, he kills them. This is the beginning of his downfall. He soon finds out that his mom and her boyfriend abused him when he was little. The "Joker" suddenly becomes real when he appears on the Ray Murray show, an in-universe late-night talk show, with that title. He then kills Murray, who had previously mocked him, on live television.

From the beginning, it's clear that the Joker's life... pretty much sucked. He is shunned by society and mocked constantly, which makes him the criminal he is. This notion has sparked a controversy that doesn’t hit far from home. Will this movie teach children that it is okay to kill people who bully you? Or that it's simply okay to become a crazed criminal and to blame it on others?

In my opinion, Joker was made for people to understand why the character turned out the way he is. In the film, his evil tendencies are a result of other people's actions. According to Thrillist, Warner Bros sent out a letter saying, “Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero." The film makes it very easy to sympathize with Arthur Fleck. His constant abuse does bring sadness and understanding, but that’s just his story. In the real world though, people who turn to violence may have been bullied. Instead of criticizing the movie, people should be thinking about it as an example of the dangers of bullies, and how one person can very well turn another insane.

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