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Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, Shea Whigham
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Psychological thriller and based on the DC Comics character, directed and co-written by Todd Phillips. Joker (2019) follows Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a failed stand-up comedian who is driven insane and turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?' - Arthur Fleck (Joker) Click To Tweet 'I used to think that my life was a tragedy. But now I realize, it's a comedy.' - Arthur Fleck (Joker) Click To Tweet
Arthur Fleck: Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?
Social Worker: It is certainly tense. People are upset, they’re struggling, looking for work. These are tough times. How about you? Have you been keeping up with your journal?
Arthur Fleck: Yes, ma’am.
Social Worker: Great. Did you bring it with you?
Social Worker: Arthur, last time I asked you to bring your journal for these appointments. Can I see it?
Arthur Fleck: [gets his journal and gives it to her] I’ve been using it as a journal, but also as a joke diary, if I have any thoughts or frustrations. I think I told you, I’m pursuing a career in standup comedy.
Social Worker: No, you didn’t.
Arthur Fleck: I think I did.
Social Worker: [reading from Arthur’s journal] “I just hope my death makes more cents than my life.”
Social Worker: How does it feel to have to come here? Does it help to have someone to talk to?
Arthur Fleck: I think I felt better when I was locked up in the hospital.
Arthur Fleck: I was wondering if you could ask the doctor to increase my medication.
Social Worker: Arthur, you’re on seven different medications. Surely they must be doing something.
Arthur Fleck: I just don’t want to feel so bad anymore.
Boy’s Mother: [to Arthur, who’s playing peekaboo with a young boy on the bus] Will you stop bothering my kid.
Arthur Fleck: I wasn’t bothering him. I was…
Boy’s Mother: [Arthur starts to laugh uncontrollably] Just stop! What, you think that’s funny?
Arthur Fleck: [ shakes his head as he continues to laugh uncontrollably]I’m sorry. I have a co…
[he hands her a card that explains that he has a condition that causes him to laugh]
[Arthur writes in his notebook] “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”
Penny Fleck: [referring to Thomas Wayne] He’d make a great mayor. Everybody says so.
Arthur Fleck: Oh, yeah? Everybody, who? Who do you talk to?
Penny Fleck: Everybody on the news. He’s the only one who can save the city. He owes it to us.
Murray Franklin: [Arthur imagines himself being on Murray’s show] What’s your name?
Arthur Fleck: Hi, Murray. Arthur.
Murray Franklin: Arthur?
Arthur Fleck: My name’s Arthur.
Murray Franklin: Well, okay. Well, there’s something special about you, Arthur, I could tell. Where are you from?
Arthur Fleck: I live right here, in this city, with my mother.
Murray Franklin: [the audience laughs] Okay. Hold on. Hold on. There’s nothing funny about that. I lived with my mother before I made it. Just me and her. I’m that kid whose father went out for a pack of cigarettes, and he never came back.
Arthur Fleck: I know what that’s like, Murray. I’ve been the man of the house for as long as I can remember. I take good care of my mother.
Murray Franklin: All that sacrifice, she must love you very much.
Arthur Fleck: She does. She always tells me to smile and put on a happy face. She says I was put here to spread joy and laughter.
Murray Franklin: I like that. I like that a lot. Come on down. Come on. For that, you got to come down.
[Arthur joyfully joins him on the stage as the audience claps for him]
Murray Franklin: [Arthur continues his fantasy of meeting Murray] That was great, Arthur. Thank you. I mean, I loved hearing what you had to say, it made my day.
Arthur Fleck: Thanks, Murray.
Murray Franklin: But, you know, this stuff, the lights, the show, the audience, all that stuff, I’d give it all up in a heartbeat to have a kid like you.
[Arthur smiles and hugs Murray lovingly]
Hoyt Vaughn: How’s the comedy career? Are you a famous standup yet?
Arthur Fleck: Not quite. I’ve just been working on my material.
Hoyt Vaughn: No, don’t sit. This will be quick. Look, I like you, Arthur. You know, a lot of the guys, they think you’re a freak, but I like you. I don’t even know why I like you, but I got another complaint. It’s starting to piss me off. Kenny’s Music, the guy said you disappeared. Never even returned his sign.
Arthur Fleck: Because I got jumped. Didn’t you hear?
Hoyt Vaughn: For a sign? That’s bulls**t. It doesn’t even make sense. Just give him the sign back. He’s going out of business, for God’s sake, Arthur.
Arthur Fleck: Why would I keep that sign?
Hoyt Vaughn: How the f*** do I know? Why does anybody do anything? If you don’t return the sign, I got to take it out of your paycheck. Are we clear?
[Arthur just stares at him with a smile]
Arthur Fleck: I don’t want you to worry about money, mom. I mean, everybody’s telling me that my standup’s ready for the big clubs.
Penny Fleck: But what makes you think you could do that?
Arthur Fleck: What do you mean?
Penny Fleck: I mean, don’t you have to be funny to be a comedian?
Sophie Dumond: Hey. Where you following me today?
Arthur Fleck: Yeah.
Sophie Dumond: I thought that was you. I was hoping you’d come in to rob the place.
Arthur Fleck: I have a gun. I can come by tomorrow.
Sophie Dumond: You’re so funny, Arthur.
Arthur Fleck: Yeah. Did you know, I do standup comedy? You should maybe come and see a show sometime.
Sophie Dumond: I could do that. Yeah. You let me know when.
Arthur Fleck: [over phone] Wait, please, I love this job.
Hoyt Vaughn: Arthur, I need to why you brought a gun into a kids hospital?
Arthur Fleck: It’s a prop, for my act now.
Hoyt Vaughn: That’s bulls**t! It’s bulls**t! What kind of clown carries a f***ing gun? Besides, Randall told me, you tried to fire a thirty-eight over him last week.
Arthur Fleck: Randall told you that?
Hoyt Vaughn: You’re a f***-up, Arthur, and a liar. You’re fired!
Wall Street Three: [as Arthur laughs uncontrollably] Is something funny? What’s so f***ing funny?
Arthur Fleck: I…
[as Arthur tries to find the card that explains his condition, the three men start beating him up]
Gary: I heard what happened? Sorry, mate.
Randall: Yeah, it doesn’t seem fair, getting fired like that.
Haha’s Clown #1: Did you really bring a gun to a children’s hospital, Arty? What the f*** would you do that for?
Haha’s Clown #2: Is that part of your new act, Arthur? The dancing didn’t do the trick, you were just going to shoot yourself?
Arthur Fleck: Why don’t you ask Randall about it? It was his gun.
Arthur Fleck: I still owe you for that, don’t I?
Randall: What the f*** are you talking about? Stop talking out of you’re a**, Art.
Arthur Fleck: [honks the clown horn, walks off, but returns] Oh, no. I forgot to punch out.
[he punches the timestamp machine, laughs as it breaks and leaves]
Good Morning Host: [Arthur and Penny are watching the news] There seems to be a groundswell of anti-rich sentiment in the city. It’s almost as if our less fortunate brethrens are taking the side of the k*ller.
Thomas Wayne: Yes, that is a shame. It’s one of the reasons why I’m considering a run for mayor. Gotham’s lost its way.
Good Morning Host: What about the eyewitness report of the suspect being a man in a clown mask?
Thomas Wayne: Well, it makes total sense to me. What kind of coward would do something that coldblooded? Someone who hides behind a mask. Someone who is envious of those more fortunate than themselves. Yet they’re too scared to show their own face. And it’s those kind of people that change for the better, those of us who’ve made something of our lives, will always look at those who haven’t, as nothing but clowns.
Penny Fleck: [to Arthur as he laughs] That’s not funny.
Arthur Fleck: I heard this song on the radio the other day, and the guy was singing that his name was Carnival.
Social Worker: Arthur…
Arthur Fleck: Which is crazy, because that’s my clown name. At work, until a little while ago, it was like nobody ever saw me. Even I didn’t know if I really existed.
Social Worker: Arthur, I have some bad news for you.
Arthur Fleck: You don’t listen, do you? I don’t think you ever really listened to me. You just ask the same questions every week. “How’s your job? Are you having any negative thoughts?” All I have are negative thoughts. But you don’t listen. Anyway, I said, for my whole life, I didn’t know if I even really existed. But I do, and people are starting to notice.
Social Worker: They cut our funding. They’re closing down our offices next week. The city’s cut funding across the board, social services is part of that. This is the last time we’ll be meeting.
Arthur Fleck: Okay.
Social Worker: They don’t give a s**t about people like you, Arthur. And they really don’t give a s**t about people like me either.
Arthur Fleck: What am I supposed to do about my medication now? Who do I talk to?
Social Worker: I’m sorry, Arthur.
Arthur Fleck: [laughs uncontrollably as he begins his standup routine at a club] School, as a kid, my mother would say, “You should enjoy it. One day you’ll have to work for a living.” No, I won’t, ma. I’m going to me a comedian.
[the audience is quiet, and we see Sophie in the audience smiling]
Sophie Dumond: [to Arthur, referring to the k*llings of the three businessmen by the clown]Do you believe that s**t? F*** them. I think they guy that did it is a hero. Three less creeps in Gotham City. Only a million more to go.
Penny Fleck: [referring to Thomas Wayne] He’s an extraordinary man, Happy. A very powerful man. We were in love. He said it was best that we not be together because of appearances. And I couldn’t tell anyone because, well, I signed some papers. And besides, you can imagine what people would say about Thomas and me, what they’d say about you.
Arthur Fleck: What would they say, mom?
Arthur Fleck: [goes to Wayne Manor where he sees young Bruce] Hi. What’s your name?
Bruce Wayne: I’m Bruce.
Arthur Fleck: Bruce. I’m Arthur.
[he puts his fingers on Bruce’s face, lifting the corners of his mouth as if to make Bruce smile]
Alfred Pennyworth: Bruce! Bruce! Get away from that man.
Arthur Fleck: It’s okay. I’m a good guy.
Alfred Pennyworth: How do you do? Who are you?
Arthur Fleck: I’m here to see Mr. Wayne.
Alfred Pennyworth: Well, you shouldn’t be speaking to his son. Why did you give him these flowers?
Arthur Fleck: No, they’re not real. It’s magic. I was just trying to make Bruce smile.
Alfred Pennyworth: Well, it’s not funny, is it? Do I need to call the police?
Arthur Fleck: No, please.
Arthur Fleck: My mother’s name is Penny. Penny Fleck. She used to work here years ago. Can you please tell Mr. Wayne I need to see him?
Alfred Pennyworth: You are her son?
Arthur Fleck: Yeah. Did you know her? I know about the two of them. She told me everything.
Alfred Pennyworth: There’s nothing to know. There is no “them”. Your mother was delusional. She was a sick woman.
Arthur Fleck: Don’t say that.
Alfred Pennyworth: Just go. Before you make a fool of yourself.
Arthur Fleck: Thomas Wayne is my father.
Alfred Pennyworth: [as he laughs and Arthur starts to choke him] Let go of me! Let go! Let go of me!
[Arthur looks at Bruce watching with fear, he turns and runs off]
Detective Garrity: [[after Penny is taken to hospital] Mr. Fleck. Sorry to bother you. I’m Detective Garrity. This is my partner, Detective Burke. We have a few questions for you, but you weren’t home. So, we spoke with your mother.
Arthur Fleck: Oh. What did you say to her? Did you do this?
Detective Garrity: What? No.
Detective Burke: No, no, no. We just asked her some questions. She got hysterical. Hyperventilating, collapsed.
Arthur Fleck: Yeah, but the doctor said she had a stroke.
Detective Garrity: We’re sorry to hear about that. But like I said, I still have some questions for you. They’re about the subway k*llings that happened last week. You’ve heard about them, right?
Arthur Fleck: Yeah. It’s horrible.
Detective Garrity: Right.
Detective Garrity: So we spoke with your boss, over at Ha-Ha’s. He said you were fired for bringing a gun into the children’s hospital. Is that true, Mr. Fleck?
Arthur Fleck: It’s a prop. It’s part of my act. I’m a party clown.
Detective Burke: Alright, so why were you fired?
Arthur Fleck: They said I wasn’t funny enough. Can you imagine that? Now, if you don’t, I have to go take care of my mother.
Detective Burke: Your boss also gave us one of your cards. This condition of yours, the laughing, is it real, or some sort of clown thing?
Arthur Fleck: A clown thing?
Detective Burke: Yeah. I mean, part of your act?
Arthur Fleck: What do you think?
Detective Burke: [as Arthur walks into the glass door] It’s exit only.
Murray Franklin: [Arthur is watching Murray Franklin’s show ] And finally, in a world where everyone thinks they could do my job, we got this videotape from Pogo’s Comedy Club, right here in Gotham. Here’s a guy who thinks he could just keep laughing, it’ll somehow make you funny. Check out this joker.
Arthur Fleck: [the footage shows him at the comedy club earlie] Oh, no.
Arthur Fleck: [as he watches the footage of his standup joke] School, as a kid, my mother would say, “You should enjoy it. One day you’ll have to work for a living.” No, I won’t, ma. I’m going to me a comedian.
Murray Franklin: You should have listened to your mother.
[the audience at Murray’s show laugh]