Joker: A Beautiful Yet Twisted Movie

Joker: one of the most anticipated movies of 2019. When it was announced that there was going to be a solo Joker film, the world had no idea what to expect. A film dedicated solely to the Joker had never been done before; we knew him as the archenemy of Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) in the many Batman adaptions we’ve seen over the last few decades. So, having a film focus on the Joker rather than Batman was a door that no one had ever opened before—but now, after seeing the film, I'm personallu so glad that someone opened that door because this movie needed to be made. It gives a new perspective on the iconic villain by showing his struggles with mental health and trying to find a place in the world. This film is a raw yet stunning story, and I think it’s a movie worth watching.

          Note- there will be a few spoilers and mentions of violence/gore and mental health issues in this review, so please read this with caution.

          Going into the Joker, I was really nervous. This was the first DC film to be rated R because of violence, disturbing behavior, language, and more. Because of this, the scaredy cat in me popped out. I hate horror movies, I don’t like lots of blood and gore, and no one will ever be able to convince me to go to the amusement park Scarowinds. So, I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to make it through the movie—but, to my surprise, there actually wasn’t a lot of violence in the movie. There is a huge controversy going on right now with people saying how violent the Joker is, but I can tell you right now that it was not that violent. The only part of the film where it’s really gruesome is the last twenty minutes of the film, with the Joker finally getting revenge on the people who did him wrong and starting a revolution against the upper class of Gotham. So, if you’re scared of going to see this movie because it’s too bloody, don’t be! Trust me, if I survived this movie, then you can too.

         What I really want to discuss is the representation of mental health in this film. The light this movie shines on mental health blew me away. Mental health is still a touchy subject that isn’t really presented in movies, let alone movies about super villains. But I appreciate director Todd Philips for deciding to take the risk of talking about Arthur Fleck’s (aka the Joker) mental health and his struggles with his issues. Arthur is diagnosed with schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociative identity disorder; he also has the pseudobulbar affect, where he laughs uncontrollably at inappropriate times. The film shows Arthur talking with a therapist, taking multiple drugs, and his frustration with these things not working for him. In my opinion, the most powerful scene in this film is when Arthur flips open his journal that he's supposed to use for his therapy and you see a line that says “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.” This hit me hard because, as someone who’s struggled with mental health, I understood where he was coming from. The world can’t see what goes on in our hearts and minds; they always think we’re okay when we’re not.

      This is the reason why mental health can’t be a touchy subject anymore and instead be talked about freely with our friends and family because we’re all going through something. Keeping my own struggles to myself hurt me deeply; it made what I was going through so much worse. But, when I finally decided to open up, I realized that I wasn’t alone in my struggles because people were going through similar things. I began to embrace my mental health and advocate for people having those discussions because mental health was a part of me. Arthur also embraces his mental health and finally realizes how his life is a comedy, not a tragedy, and begins to be himself. Although I do not agree with him hurting lots of people at the end of the movie, I can appreciate the fact that he accepted who he was, flaws and all, and finally began to live.

The Joker will be a film that people will discuss for decades. This won’t be a movie that will be forgotten in the next year; I know for certain that this movie will be nominated for many awards; Joaquin Phoenix, who played Arthur/Joker, better win that Oscar next year! His performance was phenomenal and left me speechless. Honestly, this whole film left me speechless. This isn’t your usual DC movie with Batman taking down the Joker; this is about Arthur Fleck trying to make it through his life, being hurt by everyone around him and twisting around in his struggles, but lets it all go to live his life to the fullest as the Joker. I appreciate this film’s spotlight on mental health so much and for starting a worldwide conversion about mental health. I also appreciate it not being as violent because violence is not my cup of tea. Overall, the Joker is a haunting yet exquisite story about a man who simply wants the world to see him for who he is, and I’m thankful this story exists in the world.