Disclaimer: This article contain spoilers for the movie Joker. Reader discretion is advised.
Yesterday I went to the movies with my friend Jackie and we watched the new Joker movie. I'm not the biggest DC Comics fan to be honest (Marvel obsessed here!), specifically the Batman movies never really caught my attention. But I'd been hearing a lot of discussion, good and bad, about how mental health was portrayed in the movie. So, I wanted to check it out. I'm also a big Heath Ledger fan, I owned all of his movies once (working on re-buying them all now). So I was concerned that this may be the birth of the best Joker, because I know Joaquin Phoenix is such a good actor. Well, I was quite shocked with what I watched last night.
The way mental illness was portrayed was brutally honest, from my perspective as someone who lives with a mental illness. It was made to make you feel uncomfortable. There’s a very clear switch in the middle of the movie where, I think, was a good separation of “this where we talk about the serious mental illness part” and “this is the part where the bat shit crazy comes in.” One has nothing to do with the other. So it didn’t bother me because, to me, Joker didn’t become Joker because of his mental illness. Joker became Joker because of the way society treated him. I was actually quite shocked with how much I agreed with him in one scene - trying not to give any spoilers out but it was when he talked about "why people have to be so mean all the time" and I catch myself questioning that CONSTANTLY.
Being someone with a mental illness myself, I’ve experienced some chaos in my life recently because of it. But my problems are nothing compared to people who can't hide their mental illness in every day life. I’ve seen how these people are treated. I’ve seen how other people look at them on the bus, how people talk to them on the train, and oh, not even going to mention how "crazy homeless people" are treated. It’s never nice. It’s never cool. Where is Jesus’ “love your neighbor” thing when it comes to these people? I find myself questioning constantly why people have to bully others, hurt others, make themselves bigger than others. I think the movie brought some attention to that - in a visceral and uncomfortable way of course.
That movie is sick! Also. Joaquim Phoenix is my hero. I’d say he beat my other hero, Heath Ledger, but only because the movies have different premises.
This is just a little blog post about my thoughts after watching a movie and I hope I'm able to write more posts like this in the future!