The movie is made from the point of view of Arthur at large and we are instigated to sympathize with him. He indeed is in need of empathy and consideration, which he has lacked throughout his entire life. To speak of the climax, Arthur killed the popular talk show host Murray Franklin during a live telecast.
During his appearance in Franklin’s show, Arthur’s jokes are morbid and elicit groans and boos from the audience. Similarly, Franklin starts disapproving of the “self-pity” Arthur starts to engage in. Though it almost looks like he is going to kill himself on show but he doesn’t. He somehow changes his mind and shots Murray because Arthur feels he “fucking deserves” it for mocking his performances earlier. Pertaining to the psychological illness he had, and his personality type, he would rather be killing himself than others. But, he wanted his death to have some meaning (he wrote a line in his journal that ‘I hope my death makes more cents than my life.’).
He would rather die, but with a purpose.
By the end of the story, you will be imposed to think. This movie has impeccably reflected the intricacies of the psyche of a person suffering from mental illness. Todd Phillips, the director of the movie says, “We don’t really talk a lot about what Arthur’s symptoms are, we don’t want to speak like psychiatrists.” Most of the people with mental illness are supposed to succumb to it, without having to display it. In fact, that is what is expected of them. Arthur writes in his ‘joke journal’, “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”
But this movie was intended to talk a lot about why people, including you and me, need to stop talking and start listening. Yes, we could help, maybe not a lot but a bit by being able to listen, understand and empathize with the other person. “Nobody is civil anymore. Nobody thinks what it’s like to be the other guy,” Arthur says at one point in the movie.
Arthur has this one, urgent need to be heard, to be wanted, to be seen, to be held and told “We see you trying. We acknowledge your struggle. We know you can heal.” In a session with the social worker, Arthur asks her, “You don’t listen, do you?” He has these mountainous brimming inner turmoil coming for him, and here the society was, leaving no chance to trample him. What he sorted after – revenge – might not have been the best idea, but this truly does not rationalize what society has to offer him.
The movie Joker has a way to show how an innocent’s life is once dehumanized by the system and then this mental torture repeatedly perpetuated to create a psychopath out of a person whose only need was that to be understood. I personally, am not sorry for what Joker did. I am sorry for the growing resentment inside of us, towards our system. I am sorry for the fact that I am a part of this society, for I make this society.
The movie has not only set to emerge out critically and commercially successful but has also managed to win our hearts. Once you watch the movie, you will realize it is not independently made for the loose cannons, but for every one of us. It is not just Arthur’s story of descent into madness, but it’s a representation of how we all are rebellious deep down, looking for an opportunity to unleash the insanity in us. The only difference is that we generally do not have the valour to shout our lungs out and say “I’ve got nothing left to Lose. Nothing can hurt me anymore.” and rebel the wrong, to fight the malfeasance. His ways were undoubtedly a bit too farfetched to be credited, but the truth is Joker was more of a victim than a villain.