Thursday 10 October 2019

Joker's Universum

[This is not a movie review. It's my personal opinion and feelings after watching 'Joker' in the cinema. The post contains spoilers.]

Loud silence

Five hundred people filled the cinema on Sunday evening. Five hundred young craved for good entertainment people ready for consumption of tons of pop-corn and gallons of cola. I was terrified. First, crowds make me feel uncomfortable. Second, I hate the sound of crunching and chewing, along with this specific smell. But for almost two hours, there was only silence. And palpable shock.

I'm not very fond of cinemas, both big and small ones. I like watching horrors there, though, or catastrophic movies for better effects. But I knew that 'Joker' is the film that I must-see on the big screen only. I somehow knew this movie will be about me too.

I read the opinion that it is hard to watch, that it is a 'heavy' picture with a very stifling atmosphere, and, due to that fact, even some spectators were leaving the cinemas before the end credits. Yes, and that's the point.

I was watching this movie with nothing but satisfaction. Other feelings were not significant at the moment. Finally, someone else could feel something that is my personal experience on a daily basis. I wasn't shocked by what I see. I wasn't in shock at all. Not after all these years with my non-mother and all this crap she keeps in her head. I know, for I saw it, the viewers were confused, they felt anxiety, and at some point embarrassment. The only thing I wanted to shout to them was:

"Welcome to my world, people!"

See what I see, feel what I feel

In my opinion, as a person who, for decades, suffers from mental health problems, 'Joker' is so far the best movie depicting mental health issues. It directly tells about the causes (surprise, surprise! - Arthur's mother was a diagnosed narc, and he was abused by her lover). It also shows the dramatic results (not everyone becomes a mass murderer, but Joker's figure vividly reminds me of at least one dictator's biography). From my point of view, however, the most important thing was how Joaquin Phoenix played that part.

Portraying character with emotional disorders is not easy because most of the people, actors too, have a very shallow understanding of what does it mean someone is struggling with mental health.

In the movie, there is a scene where Arthur is with his therapist, informing him about fund cuts, and that this is their last meeting. He then said something that is an epitome of being a mentally ill person in society:
"You don't listen."
When he was saying these words, he wasn't sick whatsoever. He was totally sane.

We are sick because nobody listens to us; nobody who can do something - parents, family, teachers, priests, shrinks. We must fit in some template; we must answer tendentious questions; we must obey. My therapists didn't want to listen to what I want to tell them - they only wanted me to be a 'good patient' to play another role in my life. While things I say always end in some void.

Arthur's voice wasn't heard, he stayed invisible. But his actions gained the attention. Why? Because he did something that many people wanted to do too. Of course, this deed was not in their name, for he didn't have any agenda. He simply was desperate. Like they were.

I won't lecture about society's unfairness and class division because it's not a real problem here. People's desperation starts long before they become grown-ups. And it also applies to rich people, expressing their despair differently. The thing is some persons endure tough times on emotional level (war, economic crisis, etc.), and some not. The internal stamina develops at home, at very early stages of life, usually, when we are too small to speak. But society stays behind our drama, e.g., when it destroys the institution of a healthy family; when there are no fathers present in our lives. It backs and covers unhealthy practices and makes them new normal. Society (family, school, church, social services, neighbors) ruined my life by letting my non-mother do whatever she wanted to do; by protecting her and not protecting my father's rights; by promoting the figure of a 'brave' lonely mother; by denying she's evil person... These made of me a vulnerable person, poorly enduring hard times.

We grow up, and we already are tired. We are fed up with being maltreated. We feel we do not belong to any kind of group, and if we do, we are not able to adjust. We feel like we are depersonalized. The frustration is more significant within years till the moment something breaks for good. If a man has no good bone, some compass-like faith in God, the tragedy is inevitable. 

Antihero but hero

Arthur craved for the attention. He wanted to be a stand-up comedian, which is quite understandable for me as people from dysfunctional families very often play the role of a court jester. They try to control the changing moods of an emotionally unstable parent by the lough. Later on, they attempt to control the bigger audience, much scarier one. I've been there, and I am a great comedian if the situation requires that. I can make others laugh, though inside, I am hauling like a wounded animal. 

Do you think his laugh was a real laugh? No. It was a cry. There was nothing funny about it. And the viewers, sitting around me in the cinema, had been expressing obvious distress while watching it.

He finally attracted attention. He became a hero, a model role even. And it didn't bother him it was because of becoming a cruel murderer. He gained self-confidence no one ever gave him. His voice was heard.

White mirror

I've read that there was massive butt-hurt among liberals concerning 'Joker.' Honestly, I have no clue why. I am not a liberal or leftist, despite my tough past and lack of family, and I don't know what so outrageous they could find about this movie. In fact, after leaving the cinema, I thought to myself: it's just a movie, and there are no political connotations in it; it's good to see such a non-engaged picture.

Well, it seems leftists can see wrong things everywhere nowadays. Especially when it touches their 'subconscious biases.' Maybe they have the impression someone put the mirror in front of their eyes.

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