I watched the movie in theaters twice; on its opening night and last night. It is the first time I ever go back to watch a movie, (and if I am being honest, not stop thinking about it in between) and it being a comic book movie surprises me.
While the friend that I went with last night was making very good guesses (and some wrong ones that made it even harder for me to not spoil the movie for her when I was already struggling to keep my mouth shut at moments when I wanted to protect her from what’s coming up), the first time I watched Joker it caught me off guard so many times.
Knowing that the director is the same guy who directed The Hangover, I honestly went in not expecting much. Boy was I wrong! It still baffles me that the same person can do both. I never watched The Hangover and probably never will. I can’t sit through 10 minutes of that movie without feeling annoyed and switching it off. Joker though, Joker is a great movie. Joker is a pure work of art.
My first hook was the trailer. The trailer is awesome. If you haven’t watched it yet you should, just for the sake of it.
The movie is unsettling since its opening scene, that tear running down Arthur’s face as he was trying to force a smile… It only gets more intense from there.
We watch as Arthur Fleck becomes Joker, and the movie goes from its slow pace to becoming a crescendo ride on the last 20 minutes or so.
“My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face.. I had a purpose to bring laughter and joy to the world.” that is all he wanted to do. He longed for a human connection but kept being rejected and outcasted by a society that overlooks its most unfortunate individuals, kind of wishing that by just denying their existence and acting like they don’t exist they will eventually cease to exist.
I watched an interview where Todd Philips talks about how they recorded the music before shooting the movie and how he played the score on sets because he wanted it to infect the scenes and it did just that! The music was a character of its own, a strong soul-cutting (did I just say that?!) character.
And Arthur Fleck has music within his soul. To me it was like a representation that there’s beauty within him that has survived all the atrocities he’s been through and that doesn’t fade away even as he descends into Joker (or transcends?! all up to you!) Also, do I even have to say this? Joaquin Phoenix is PHENOMINAL! That scene in the bathroom! That scene on the stairs! Just EVERYTHING!! His performance is amazing!
The first time I watched the movie it really got to me. It’s a real powerful movie, and as someone who’s struggling with her own mental health, some of it was even triggering to me… like I said I was caught off guard, and there were moments when I was actually on the verge of crying. I didn’t though. Someone (or many) laughed in the audience and it stopped me. And that’s the sad thing, that spectators reaction to some of Arthur’s most painful moments was laughter.
I get that we all see movies (and life in general) through our own prism of past personal experiences and emotions, but still too many times the audience reactions got me like “whyyyy??” Yes there were some funny scenes, and I laughed too, but most of it was not. Most of it was heartbreaking.
After a first experience of the movie, being submurged in the art of it, feeling Arthur’s pain and connecting with the character, I decided to go back and see it again 2 weeks later, to experience it in a different way, a more detached way. And this time I was watching both the film and the audience. As much as Joker is powerful in painting a true profound depiction of mental illness, as much as the audience reflected the truthfullness of the movie portrayal of how we treat mental illness as a society.
Joker is a character study of (probably the most) famous villain in DC universe, but I experienced the movie on a very different level. I experienced it as the story development of an individual who suffered intense childhood trauma and has been failed by society over and over again and kept taking in one disappointment after another, and the sum of it all shaped who he was to become. It’s more than a comics’ villain movie, it’s a movie about mental health and it’s a deeply ‘human’ movie.
Can I just say it again? Great movie! F**king great!! A masterpiece! I wouldn’t mind watching it a third time (if you’re paying :p).
IF YOU’VE MADE IT THIS FAR AND YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE YET, YOU’RE GREAT! I TRIED NOT TO SPOIL, I HOPE I DID ALRIGHT. WHAT’S COMING THOUGH IS A SET OF MY FAVORITE LINES FROM THE MOVIE, IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED IT YET IT’S PROBABLY BEST THAT YOU STOP RIGHT HERE xo
-“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”
–“You don’t listen, do you? I don’t think you ever really listened to me. You just ask the same questions every week. “How’s your job? Are you having any negative thoughts?” All I have are negative thoughts. But you don’t listen. Anyway, I said, for my whole life, I didn’t know if I even really existed. But I do, and people are starting to notice.
-“I just hope my death makes more cents than my life.”
-“It’s so hard just to try and be happy all the time.”
-“I used to think that my life was a tragedy. But now I realize, it’s a f**king comedy.”
-“Everybody is awful these days. It’s enough to make anyone crazy.”
-“If it was me dying on the sidewalk, you’d walk right over me. I pass you everyday and you don’t notice me!”