Release Date: October 4, 2019
Director: Todd Phillips
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz
Plot: A man with a mental illness comes to embrace his dark side
Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now
Welp. There is no need to go any further in the nomination process for best actor this year. The Academy might as well go ahead and mail the Oscar to Joaquin Phoenix's house. I'd bet the mortgage payment that there won't be a better acting performance this year.
As for the movie. I loved it. And I hated it.
This is, so far, my favorite film of the year. It is incredible and terrible in every way. I was completely taken in by the story, and yet so repulsed by the fall of the main character as well as the society around him that failed him repeatedly.
The number one thing that makes a great villain is making their mission understandable, almost to the point of the viewer being sympathetic to thought process. This film does a fantastic job making the downtrodden Arthur Fleck (pre-Joker) a very sympathetic character that chooses a life of evil and chaos only after it is forced on him again and again.
This film is a mirror of how our society still treats mental illness. I know this from personal experience, because I have seen society and "the system" fail a person with mental illness very close to me over and over again. It is sad and terrible to watch the unnecessary fall of someone like Arthur Fleck who only wants to make people happy and bring joy to their lives, but society hates him for being different, and the system doesn't want to deal with him.
This is a very powerful and disturbing film. It is not a film for kids at all. This is not anywhere near a typical super hero-like movie. This movie is brutal, in-your-face, horrific, and incredibly disheartening. Do not take your 8 year old to see this movie. It's way too much for them to handle, and the story is way over their head anyway. I was disturbed by this film and I've been around a lot longer than 8 years.
There are several shocking reveals in this origin story as well. A few of them will get audible gasps from the audience.
This is not a fun film. It is, at moments, hard to watch, but it is very much worth seeing. Movies like this don't come along very often. I highly recommend seeing this one in theaters. Just make sure you have time to process it afterwards, because this one is going to stick with you for quite some time.