So, I know that most of us have watched the movie; Joker. It became an instant hit, won Oscars and Joaquin Phoenix was exceptionally good. Of course, the cinematography and storytelling everything was astounding and worth all the praise. The Joker Movie from marvel comics is by far the saddest movie not because it’s fictional though.
I watched the movie over 10 times or so, not because I like depressing stories or negative elements (maybe a little) but I thought the movie was trying to tell something other than the Marvel story. Then last night when I watched it again, it clicked. You know how when you are solving a math equation and you don’t get through, suddenly one right step and everything falls in place. It was a similar moment in time.
Oh, don’t worry, this is not another movie review that you have read at 1000 other places, but I wanted to share what I saw in the movie. The more I watched, the more I believed that it was not just another entertaining story. It showed the problems of our society. It was sad and scary, both at the same time.
I am going to state some scenarios and people from the movie that have relevance in real society. Although the movie is fictional the way I see it, has a resemblance to real-life situations which may seem coincidental though.
What Makes The Joker Movie One Of Saddest?
I am sure you have seen a lot of movies that are either based on real of stories or that has some resemblance at least. There have been movies that are sad, depressing or simply so negative that you can barely watch those. However, when this movie was released, there were mixed reviews and feelings that were expressed by the audience and the media.
One of the many things that got my attention was how the movie can have a negative impact on society. If you remember, A couple of movie screening theatres even banned the joker movie or wearing of costumes to the movie theatre. Some families who had lost their loved ones in the shooting during one of the other Batman movies in Colorado 2012.
That’s true movies have impact on the people. Some take it far beyond just the entertainment. Movies creators think it’s art, not understanding the lasting impression that it can have on people. Of course, to greater extent, it’s up to us to interpret the movie as neutrally as possible.
Maybe what I am doing is also possibly wrong, to forcefully impose a point a view from my understanding of the movie. It will all make sense once you read it.
What Or Who Are The Real Life Resemblance In The Movie?
I have had a debate with some of my friends, not on this topic, but something similar. It’s been proven and confirmed that our families (Parents), the people we hang out with, and society, in general, can have a huge impact on our state of mind. Especially, when we are young and impressionable. Why not, we spend a lot of learning years with parents and look up to other grown-ups and imitate to deal with the life situations accordingly.
That doesn’t make sense?
Let’s break this down and the movie to better understand it.
1. The Pre-Existing Mental Condition:
The movie did point out from the beginning that Arthur Fleck suffered from multiple psychological issues. That was clear from the start. However, the people that he is working with, his mother, or random people that he comes across did not actually care about it much.
To a certain extent, they went about ignoring his state of mind and simply thought he was a dumb freak and a burden to society. The lack of trust, understanding, and acceptance kept him from making real friends. Get quality jobs or pursue a desired career and a better standard of living. I know the movie depicts that everyone during those times was struggling with money because of the way things were with the economy. I understand that, but can you imagine not having a fairground to play.
In addition to that, there’s no real help that’s available. He’s told in the movie that the Government is shutting down the welfare service because it’s taking up resources.
2. The Mother or Parents
It’s far more difficult to accept that parents by any means will have bad intentions towards their kids. Sometimes, some of the worst things that happen start with a good intention. That doesn’t mean that we have not seen examples of toxic parents. It is always about what they want for the kids more than allowing the kids to explore their dreams and passion.
A simple example from the Joker movie is when he shares with his mom that he is working on becoming a stand-up comedian. Her response to that was “Don’t you have to be funny to be a comedian”. Yes, the mother in the movie had physical and psychological issues but then it’s not a complete surprise that parents, at times, ridicule kids for their belief in their dreams and goals.
How do you think a kid is going to grow up knowing that he can trust his parents with his aspirations. He/she is either going to do things in secret, be afraid to tell them when they fail, and continue to develop trust issues. If you are from India or even Southeast Asia, you would know that how parents want their children to become something that they want. Here, a kid is a failure if they don’t become a doctor, lawyer, or an engineer.
3. Friends & Lovers
Yes, I know, he didn’t have any. The Joker movie shows a real-life picture of how people that are different can rarely have friends or love. Let’s be sincere here, let’s look at our own group of friends, we’d rarely find someone that is visibly different & struggling mentally and still manages to stay friends. How many times have we not ridiculed such people? We have probably even bullied them for being different.
People struggling with severe mental disorders such as depression or multiple personalities can have a really difficult time. I know that it can be difficult being friends with them, but haven’t we been taught to be more compassionate to others.
Left alone, they would always resort to taking up the worst things in life. Some might end up in criminal activities or lose hope of any possibilities of a better future and commit suicide. We’d then be like, oh man, we knew there was something wrong with him/her and we are so sad about the loss. We failed horribly at doing anything about it when we had the chance.
I’d like to call that psychologist in the movie his friend here for a second. That’s because she was the only person that he shared what he is going through. Like is points out, she doesn’t listen. Preoccupied with the shit that she’s going through in life. Haven’t we had friends that don’t “really” listen to us? I did, as I grew older and hopefully wiser, I dropped many such people from my life.
However, not everyone would have the same luxury. They cling on to such people even though they aren’t worth it but the fear of not being able to find other friends can force you to stay in such relationships.
4. The Boss
We have worked under a boss that’s a complete d*ck, right?
You have called in sick even though you weren’t, but you had to lie because you couldn’t be truthful with your boss. Or a situation where your boss always finds negatives and faults in the work that you do. Not giving you the chance to explain or proper feedback to improve on the work. Sometimes you won’t even get counseling in case you are struggling with managing work and personal life.
The boss in the Joker movie is in many ways no different than the ones in real life. He says “I like you Arthur”, but also doesn’t give a f*ck about what he is going through or the beating he took. Arthur walks in smiling into his office and leaves in a worse state of mind than what he generally experiences.
5. The Colleagues
I have worked in teams and with other people. We have always had fun, made fun of each other, and always managed to have a healthy banter. I also remember that sometimes there’s one person in all the teams that get picked on more than others. Yes, that one guy, takes all the jokes laughing and everyone else has a good time. Looks like that one person does too, or he/she would have you believe so.
What if they go home depressed or so demotivated that they hate waking up the next day. Even avoid meeting people in social settings because they’d get picked on. What if they reach a point and can’t take that anymore.
We have also seen colleagues that give toxic advice to others that results in a damaging career within the company. Randall giving a gun to Arthur in the movie I think is a resemblance of wrong advice that can result in the downfall of a career.
6. The Society
We are all a part of “The Society”. We contribute, we do, we see and we accept or reject” In this context, I am talking about people outside of our known circle and how they affect us. As a collective society, people always tell you what’s right and wrong, what to do, how to behave, what to wear, what sexual or political preference to follow, and many other things like these.
Those are probably extreme situations. Remember that scene from the Joker movie, where Arthur tries to entertain the kid in the bus. The mother quickly turns and shuts him off. When he laughs uncontrollably, she rolls her eyes and goes on about. Everyone in the bus looks at him weirdly for a continued outburst of his laughter.
Even at the beginning of the movie, the kids run after stealing his board and beat him up. Even the cops talk to him like he is some kind of freak.
7. The becoming of the “Joker”
Some of the things that he said in the Joker movie would probably leave you thinking, how does someone with that much pain survive. When he asks for more prescription medicine and explains why he needs them. “I just don’t want to feel bad anymore”.
By far the most painful line in the movie was when the psychologist reads his journal and stumbles upon a phrase that he had written down for stand-up comedy (so he says, but I don’t think it was that).
I hope that my death makes more cents than my life.Arthur Fleck, Joker Movie
He has had enough already, it constantly felt like he couldn’t take it anymore. When on a subway train, 3 wall-street guys beat him because he starts laughing due to his condition. That was the moment when he starts to form a belief that the world and the people suck. He kills them and runs off to a public restroom, and acknowledges himself as a newborn, and agrees that he did the right thing.
When he meets Thomas Wayne, assuming that he is his father based on what his mother had told him, he had even worst experience. Wayne’s a rich guy, running for mayor, he should have had the courtesy to treat him right. He may not be his father, but he didn’t have to be a total d*ck about how he spoke to him.
You know when you hear Arthur say, “why everyone is so rude, I don’t know why you are” – Can you imagine how painful that sounds?
In fact, even the person he idealized the most made fun of him. That’s probably the last thing he expected. We all have been in situations like that. The people that we valued the most were the first ones to let us down.
Final sad thoughts.
I mean, if you ask an ordinary person, one would think that there’s no reason to pick up the gun and start shooting people off. Well, yeah, I agree. But we are talking about someone that has multiple psychological issues from childhood to being grown up, the way people treated him, and what he is currently going through. All that anger stored inside was looking for one tiny spot to release and turn it into an explosion of catastrophe.
I am not saying that actions justify the means, or every person that’s troubled will or should resort to acts like these. however, I am simply pointing out the obvious that, he was not the only person to be blamed. There were many people that contributed to a downfall of a human and the rise of the Joker.
The Joker movie, although, completely fictional, it also portrayed some aspects that were so familiar in modern-day society as well. Whatever’s happening to us is far more devastating than what the pandemic is doing. We should be afraid of the covid virus, but we are also looking at a far worse enemy of the human race that will lead to our own demise.