“Joker” is a Great Way to Show some of the Problems in Today’s Society

John Conlow, Opinions Editor

Intriguing and funny, “Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, is the newest and most recent revamp of the original.

As the film opens, we see a man forcing himself to smile.

Warner Bro. Pictures | Thrillist

The film centers around the struggles of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) leading up to his destruction. He has a sad life working as a clown and living in Gotham City (which seems to be falling apart) where he struggles with a laughing problem, which is simply that he can break into laughter at any moment. And when he starts, he can’t stop.

He lives with his mother, Penny (Frances Conroy) and takes care of her. Penny reveals in her tone and the way she walks/moves that something is wrong with her. You get the impression she was deeply traumatized by something growing up.

Fleck learns that when she was young, his mother was crazy and worked for the Wayne’s. The Wayne’s are a wealthy family who runs Wayne Enterprises. She even tells her son that she had an affair with Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) which turned out to be a lie.

Fleck comes to the realization that his mother is not really the person she says she is. This starts to affect him and makes him gain trust issues which result in a manic state of mind. In his house, all he does is sit around and overthink which doesn’t make his mental state any better.

His mother eventually gets admitted into Arkham Asylum, a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, and goes to investigate what happened. To receive information, he stole files from the facility and read up on all her wrong-doings and comes across his adoption papers.

The Joker also experiences hallucinations. One day he begins to stalk his neighbor, Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beetz). Then it jumps to them being together and going on a date.

People of the upper class act deviously around him because of their wealth and background. Many of his co-workers are disrespectful to him by laughing in his face and talking down to him. His boss contains no trust in him whatsoever, and even puts the blame on him when he gets attacked in a scene.

“The Joker” may seem like all these unfortunate scenarios have turned him into a bad guy, but he’s so much more than that. He’s actually trying to tell people like him, socially awkward with a failure to fit in, to stand up and fight for themselves. Arthur starts off as a man who is scared of everything and lets anyone treat him the way they want to, especially the higher class. He grows tired of this happening and eventually fights back resulting in him starting a revolution.

Another theme that arises is the awareness of mental health. As you see in the film, you realize the person who he’s become is due to his childhood and past experiences.

The creators of the film created a different perspective of the Joker from the evil villain we all thought we knew was. They made Fleck seem dominant in some scenes and sometimes not, where he comes off stronger or weaker.

Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. | The Atlantic