When it comes to movies about mental health issues, I have seen a few of them. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Black Swan,” “Melancholia,” “Rain Man” and “Fight Club” to name a few. But last year, a movie was released that spoke to me as someone with major depressive disorder. That movie is “Joker.”
“Joker” is a movie about a failed comedian, Arthur Fleck, who is isolated, bullied and disregarded by society. By day, he is a clown that holds signs on the sidewalk or visits hospitals, but everywhere he goes he gets no respect. He is living with depression and the audience knows it from the get-go. The movie details his spiral downwards into a deeper depression and a psychotic break.
Seldom does a movie resonate with me as much as this one did. I truly felt the pain and anguish that Arthur was feeling on screen. It was relatable almost to the point of making me uncomfortable. The movie was an awkward enjoy. There were moments when I felt that I had to look away, but couldn’t for fear of missing out on the next scene.
At one meeting, Arthur says to his social worker (who is going through the motions and not listening) “You ask the same questions every week. How’s your job? Do you have any negative thoughts? All I have are negative thoughts.” This quote burrows deep into my core as there are days that yes, all I have are negative thoughts.
Another quote that I like is a passage from Arthur’s journal: “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”
Unfortunately, the stigma of mental illness is still out there. Days have gone by where I have spent all my energy to seem normal, only to come home and be mentally and physically exhausted for days. Hopefully, this movie will bring more light to the need for mental health assistance and empathy to those who live with a mental affliction.
While hard to watch because of how close it hit home, “Joker” was a great movie with a significant message. I can imagine that some people went into the movie thinking it would just another comic book origin story. They would be sadly mistaken but hopefully, they found a movie that moved them even a fraction of what it did for me.
You can read more perspectives on the movie “Joker” below:
- We Need to Talk About How ‘Joker’ Treats Mental Illness and Violence
- Why ‘Joker’ Could Trigger Some Viewers With Mental Illness