Review of the Smash Hit Movie, Joker

Review of the Smash Hit Movie, Joker

*Warning: Spoilers below!*

Joker, perhaps one of the most controversial movies of 2019 or even for the past few years. Joker follows the story of Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill man who goes through big city living and abuse at the hands of people emotionally close and far. By the end of the film, he reaches his breaking point, or point of self-realization, depending on who you ask. This point is when Arthur actually becomes the Joker, but it’s only by the end that we see the true Joker. Viewers should not expect a movie about the Joker’s antics. Rather, they should expect a movie showing the end of his lifelong breakdown which leads into his life as the Joker.

Joker takes on the challenge of showing mental illness in its worst and scariest forms in a controversial way that goes above and beyond all expectations. It’s a disturbing and scary movie, scary in the sense that we follow such a lonely, ill man as he gets worse and worse in such a short span of time. This is the best part of the movie. This part makes us scared and sad about poor Arthur who gets no help from any source. His only source of help being  therapy closes down and tells him, “They don’t care about people like you Arthur.”

Many people say the scariest part of watching the Joker isn’t even his actions, it’s being relatable to the man himself, which I can agree with, to an extent. The subway scene, where he is beaten by three drunken businessmen, makes you feel remorse for the poor, mentally ill man. They beat him for laughing at them, but he can’t control his laughter. The remorse continues for the whole scene, even during the scene where he pulls out the handgun he got from his coworker and guns down all three men. He kills the last one slowly, letting him bleed and crawl before finishing him off. The worst part from what I have heard many people say is that no one blamed Joker. They all wanted to see these three bullies get their own punishment, but it scares people how relatable this scene can be, the need to punish those who cross you and to defend yourself so quickly.

The movie makes you feel nothing but remorse and sadness for the Joker. I didn’t feel mad at the Joker for even one scene, especially after finding out about his tragic past of brutal beatings as a child from his mother’s boyfriend, which caused his laughing disorder. It’s hard to blame the Joker for his actions when he has been treated as badly from everyone his whole life. It’s all he knows yet for his whole life, he has done his best to be nice to people and spread joy to all those who can hear him. 

The movie really shows the mentally ill side of Arthur. After he kills the three men in the subway, he runs into the bathroom and looks at himself in the mirror before he starts dancing to slow, creepy music, as if he feels an energy fill him and swell, something he’d never felt before, strength. Many people have this feeling, not of murderous intent, but of a feeling to take your own strength back and to defend yourself. This is the reason why I believe so many people, like myself, love this movie. It’s all a heavily exaggerated metaphor for wanting to take your own life into your hands and give yourself the strength to defend yourself and speak your voice.

In the end, the movie makes you feel a strange happiness for Arthur as he’s arrested and driven away, he looks outside to see all his followers doing exactly what he wanted, and he smiles. He has people who understand him and worship him.  Yes, he’s a murderous psycho, but he’s happy after all this time. You hate him, but you love him, he’s Joker through and through.