Stop Calling Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Dangerous And Instead, Go Watch This Beautiful Film
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Stop Calling Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Dangerous And Instead, Go Watch This Beautiful Film

It's time to give the Joker his second Oscar.


The new Joker movie has garnered heaps of controversy, even before its release.

First, the movie was stamped as a stand-alone and has no active role in the current DC universe (which may or may not be true, I'll let you decide). The film instead does character work on Arthur Fleck, the man behind the clown makeup, and the kind of man he was before his Joker persona. Joker's origin story had been done before, in the TV series Gotham, yet prepare for all your expectations to be completely subverted.

Next and more troubling were the accusations about how this new interpretation of Joker as an "incel," which may or may not be true, depending on how you view this. Disregarding the technical definition of an incel (involuntary celibate), the new Joker appears to fit in with the trope of "angry, disenfranchised white man" just looking to topple the system and fucking rage. Right?

Except, not really.

The new Joker is a broken, beaten-down man. He struggles with a bevy of mental illnesses, some of which are neurologically based, along with constant abuse throughout his life. Arthur suffers from fits of inappropriate hysterical laughter as a result, making everyone around him uncomfortable and prone to mistreating him for his "callousness." His mental illness has plagued both his career and social life, as we can see through glimpses of his notebook where he scrawls that the worst part of having a mental illness is that "people expect you to behave as if you don't."

So, no. The new Joker is not an edgy incel who feels a sense of entitlement and as a result goes on terrorist sprees because no woman will have sex with him. He is a poor, mentally ill man who has been edged to a breaking point due to a lack of empathy from the world around him. This is not a film about male rage, it is about what happens when oppressed groups find that the only way their voice can be heard is through violence.

The movie is not dangerous. It is a warning we have been ignoring.

Yes, it is violent, raw, and intense. Yes, you will feel uncomfortable and disturbed in some scenes. But this is the point. The main character was never coddled or saved, and the audience is given a peek under the veil to see what led Arthur to become this psychopathic anarchist with no empathy for others. Joaquin Phoenix delivers a resounding performance that will burn itself in your memory for days after leaving the theater.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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