By G.P. Avants
I am not sure if I want to laugh or cry after watching Joachim Phoenix’s incarnation of the notorious Joker. In fact I have waiting until now to revisit my movie notes and attempt to piece together his story that exaggeratedly danced across the screen.
Arthur stands alone in the crowded streets of Gotham waving a sign the says, Everything Must Go. Like so many businesses or everyday people times are tough and some are failing. Employed as a clown Arthur has seen his shares of highs and lows. There seems to be the idea that the world is getting crazier and Arthur’s mental illness is just one person’s broken response to the climate.
One of the outward signs of his condition is the uncontrollable laughter that is sometimes indistinguishable from crying. Arthur’s stuffed doen issues get elevated by stress. That would explain his bent, emaciated body and quiet uncertain dialog. He is learning how to turn his odd perspective on the world into a comedy act, but the average person doesn’t get his humor.
In a effort to survive on the streets he takes bad advice from a fellow clown and carries a gun. His comic and personal timing are terrible when the gun falls out at his performance to kids at a cancer ward. Arthur is fired. That fact literally sets a fire off in his mind. Arthur is pushed so far but then finally pushes back. Everything he trusted as a safety net snapped and sent him free falling.
He begins to create the Joker persona with a dance that embraces his faults and shortcomings. When Thomas Wayne flippantly called all the poor “clowns.” The Joker took as his badge of honor. His stage became to world where rules of right and wrong, real and fantasy become muddied and blurred. In Joker’s mind punishing wrong knows no limits between friends or family. In a massive movement others do wrong under the mask of a clown. We see the young Bruce Wayne staring down at his dead parents. In a twist he begins down his path as Batman blaming the wrong clown (whom turned out not to be the Joker) for their murder.
What can we take away from this broken man’s bent view of life?
Life can feel very hopeless and unchanging. Even family members can turn out to be people who don’t look out for our best interst. The goverment, the rich, the poor, the beauty across the hall can leave us feeling hollowed out inside. We can’t even trust our own mental or emotional state when the chips are down.
But, maybe these things are meant to remind us that the temporary things of life are just that. This world is not the place to bank away all our hopes and dreams. I like to think of eternity as God’s best for mankind. Maybe He in His wisdom lets time be a just a taste or sin and sadness countered with love a grace. I truly believe that Jesus is the sound mind in our madness, the stable calm in our emotional storm, the father to the fatherless, and the wisdom to understand the mutitude of issues that face mankind.
If you have a Joker in our life who needs to know the truth I pray you gave that opportunity to share this seed of hope with them. And that’s no joke.