I went and saw The Joker this weekend in theaters. I was aware of the reviews. It wasn’t a film that I had planned to see, nor is it one I would watch again. It lacked a “feel good” moment. There is no hero, and frankly, it is sad. In spite of this, the movie was incredibly well done, and I think it is an important one for people to see.
I did not think anyone would be able to hold a flame to Ledger’s depiction of the character, but Joaquin Phoenix gave us a dimension of the character’s story that none of us had ever seen, The Joker’s childhood.
I don’t know what to say about it. It was sad. I empathized with Joker and came to understand his world-view. I was terribly saddened as we experienced Joker’s symptoms and delusions with him. He was raised by a woman that clearly had delusions and did not take appropriate care of him or provide a stable home. He was physically abused. And the result, no surprise, he had a very warped and distorted world view.
The film provides astute commentary on our society without being preachy. The lack of interest and funding we have for mental health services. Our state hospitals more resemble prisons than health facilities and only handle the most extreme cases. Kids and adults with mental health issues are marginalized, victimized, and bullied. The result of all of these societal conditions leads to really bad outcomes for folks with mental illness.
There is so much more awareness, compassion and funding for conditions that people cause, yet mental illness, something a person is not choosing, is ridiculed.