Commentary: ‘Joker’ movie is definitely no joke

The recent film release was negatively received by some, but has sparked important conversations

Since Todd Phillips’s, “Joker,” hit the box office, there have been a number of mixed reviews regarding the film.

Overall, it’s been pretty well received among audiences, and personally, I absolutely loved it. The cinematography is brilliant, and the amazing performance by Joaquin Phoenix deserves an Oscar. But after watching the film, I couldn’t help but think about it more and more.   

When I checked the reviews, I was shocked to find the amount of negative reviews regarding the film’s final message. Critiques are worried about the violent message that people could be taking from the movie, however, this film is a must-see, and it is not toxic at all.

The main critique regarding the movie itself is that the film isn’t fun enough, and that it’s shallow. It tries to evoke sympathy in viewers for someone who doesn’t deserve sympathy, they say. 

First of all, the film doesn’t have to be fun. I think it’s refreshing to see this unique style, where there’s a pleasant mix of dark humor and suspense, like the children’s hospital scene, for example. 

Secondly, I don’t see the movie trying to make you feel sympathy for Arthur, who is the main character. Some feel bad for him, and others don’t, but there are seemingly no outward efforts by the producers create sympathy for Arthur. 

I can see both sides of things, because while Arthur is a violent and mentally sick individual, he’s also been abused all his life, and lives in very poor conditions. And while it’s true that bad things happen to everyone, the problem with Arthur is that he’s unable to cope with these things.

Another aspect of the film that people are concerned with is the fact that the movie may inspire real life acts of violence or terrorism. These people say the film is actually dangerous, and that it shouldn’t be shown in theaters. 

Honestly, I think this is a valid concern, however there are many other films that could have the same thing said about them, and, “Joker,” isn’t. iIllustration/ SIMI SINGH

If someone watching the film is already having those kinds of thoughts, watching this movie may be a trigger, like the straw that broke the camel’s back. In that case, the movie doesn’t “cause” violence. There are many triggers in the film, and therefore is not for everyone.

People say is that the Joker glamorizes acts of violence, but I think this movie portrays these sensitive topics with a sense of understanding for the viewer. The movie is not encouraging you to love Arthur, only displaying his own thoughts and struggles. There are many different villains and many heros, all of whom kill mercilessly, and are still loved by millions. So the Joker has some violence in it, but so do most action films. 

What I really love about all this conversation and debate is that the movie has struck a nerve with people. Art is meant to inspire and move people, and this film has succeeded in doing that. Whether that means feeling inspired to start conversation, inspired to write an angry review, inspired to write an article, or inspiration for your own stories. Of course, I don’t want people to be inspired to hurt innocent people, but this movie has people talking. That’s what I think is most important about the negative and positive reviews.

So although I dislike reading the negative reviews, it’s interesting to see everyone’s take on this film. Because walking into it, you’re expecting to learn more about Jokers new backstory adaptation, but you leave thinking about what was real and what wasn’t. That’s something the community has in common. 

This film was a dark one, yes, but it’s still a very unique and inspiring film.