Not All Laughs

Staff Writer Gabby DeRose reviews the new movie "Joker" that hit theaters October 4. 2019


Image courtesy of IMDb

Gabby DeRose, Staff Writer

Director Todd Phillips’s “Joker” starring Joaquin Phoenix portrays a powerful look at mental illness and the effects of a toxic society. The psychological thriller, which has received a 68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, an audience score of 90 percent and an 8.9/10 by IMDb follows the backstory of one of the most famous villains of all time. Arthur Fleck, who sports the name and appearance of the Joker only within the final moments of the movie, transcends into a downward spiral of crime and insanity as the movie progresses.

In all, this movie was, for many, a disturbing look into the mind of this beloved DC villain. For many others, the work takes the form of a masterpiece, magnified by Phoenix’s exemplary acting. Phoenix truly dons the mask of the Clown Prince, with his disturbing laughing fits and twisted humor.  Phoenix even prepared for the role by losing fifty-two pounds.

However, Phoenix later stated to People Magazine that, 

[Extreme weight loss] impacts your psychology, and you really start to go mad when you lose that much weight in that amount of time.”  Phoenix said.

Phoenix shed the pounds in a span of a mere few months, where experts say that in order to safely lose that much weight, it would take at least a year. Whether this tactic was used as a ploy to increase Phoenix’s portrayal of the mad Arthur Fleck or the inhumane use of eating disorders to match the actor to the character has been left to the media to decide.

In all, however, Phoenix’s acting in 2019’s “Joker” has risen to high acclaim from critics and casual moviegoers alike. Phoenix’s acting makes the audience pain for Arthur’s treatment, feeling sympathy for the scene of a man being beaten down by society, yet it also makes the audience gawk at the violence of Fleck’s hostility. This psychological thriller truly dons the message that “darker is deeper.”