This past weekend I went with my cousins to go see the movie, Joker, a highly anticipated and well-reviewed thriller/drama. At first, based off of the image of the movie release and my prior knowledge of the role of the Joker from Batman movies, I instantly thought that the movie would depict horror all through. NEVER would I have thought that backstory of the Joker was depicted from mental health conditions and his upbringing from child to adulthood.
Coming from a mental health background as an advocate and someone who used to primarily associate with a mental health condition, I empathized a lot with the actor Joaquin Phoenix, who played the lead role as Arthur Fleck, who later transcended into ‘the Joker’. I also felt that the depiction of a mental health patient and the broken system was accurate: the local mental health facilities, the unconcerned staff, the numerous prescriptions that do not help, and the overworked and underpaid social worker. Let me repeat, THIS IS A BROKEN SYSTEM, and if you do not find your way out of it, you will be suctioned into the vicious cycle for the rest of your life.
Without giving out any spoilers for the ones who have not seen it yet, Arthur suffers from numerous mental health conditions, but his main condition is a neurological condition of uncontrollable laughter. He utilizes his condition by getting a job as an advertising clown and is also a main caregiver to his ailing mother. For the ones who watch the movie and can tolerate some horror, please pay specific attention to the mother, his condition, and how it all came to pass. I’ll leave you with that.
At the end of the day, society created the Joker, not Arthur.