Starting in the gritty underbelly of Gotham City, a failed comedian and clearly sick man by the name of Arthur Fleck struggles to fit in with society. Depressed and beaten by life everyday Arthur is crying to be noticed, craving to be appreciated but the world around him is too broken and unforgiving. Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of what we know to be The Joker was raw, beautiful, sad and emotional with a soundtrack from Hildur Guðnadóttir so powerful it sent shivers down my spine.
Arthur suffers from a rare condition that forces him into uncontrollable laughter at the most inconvenient of times, along his journey we see him face to face with some of the more unpleasant strangers we come across in life and when feeling under pressure or when he is feeling great emotion he will break out in laughter although he looks like he is dying on the inside, Joaquin really helps us to understand his pain.
Various unfortunate events happen to Arthur over the course of the movie. The scene in the comedy club named pogos where he chokes his performance was heartbreaking. He is kicked and beaten numerous times working as a clown advertising shops closing down sales, dropping a gun at a performance in front of sick kids at the hospital and then eventually loosing his job because of it. Arthur is given the excuse he is not funny enough and kicked to the curb once more.
Penny Fleck, Arthur’s mother has for years hidden the identity of his father from him, he finds out from returned letters to Thomas Wayne (Batmans dad btw) that his mother is claiming Thomas to be Arthur’s father and is asking for help as his son is sick. Arthur proceeds to reach out to this man supposedly his father and build bridges, I believe the final moment that tips him over the edge is when Thomas tells Arthur he’s not his father and Penny was sick and delusional. He tells Arthur he’s adopted which forces him to find his mothers medical files at Arkham Asylum confirming all of this, reading that you was found tied to a radiator and beaten by your mothers toxic ex boyfriends would be enough to send any man crazy and seek answers.
As we know certain scenes in the movie are imagined which also holds such a shock value when we find out he was never there, or he never actually spoke with that person. is Penny Fleck delusional and making the whole ordeal up? or is there genuinely a hidden love affair between her and Thomas Wayne inevitably meaning The Joker could actually be Batmans half brother! I refuse to believe it and am slightly leaning more towards the fact his mother was sick and probably imagined it all, but who knows? .. maybe the whole movie happened inside his head at Arkham Asylum!
Onto the final question that everybody is asking, was Joaquin’s performance as good as Heath Ledgers? Absolutely yes! In every way possible, I love Heaths portrayal as The Joker in the movie Batman : The Dark Knight and I believe this to be The Joker we all know and love but I feel that Joaquin’s portrayal is not so much The Joker from the get go but more like Arthur Flecks journey into becoming The Joker. We don’t see the chaos inducing villain we know from comics and his runnings with Batman we see a vulnerable, timid, sick man who is mentally ill constantly being broken by life and being pushed to the point that made him The Joker he is today, The Joker that we eventually see in Heath.
The movie was beautiful, the soundtrack so powerful and I can already hear the Oscars calling, I personally think Phoenix deserves it for his performance and would be very surprised if this movie doesn’t receive any awards. 10/10, must see, a movie you’ll never forget.