hopscotchee: joaquin phoenix score: 98 rating: R time: 122 minutes
seriously what is there to say about this movie?! like for realz!! it feels like there aren't any words to describe or do justice in depicting this masterpiece!! nonetheless, we are persistent lil' dreamers and will do our best. SO (with a big inhale), let's get started!!
not only has the joker made it's way as the first R-rated film to pass $1 billion in the box office, it has also made its way as the highest scoring movie twinsAF has seen so far!! in other words, it's a big proper 'well the fuh done, todd phillips'. with nearly a perfect 100, joker wow-ed the freakin' socks off us. from the cinny (cinematography) to the symbolic storytelling, the joker puts you through the wringer of a dark and twisted tale of the misunderstood and misguided, and the extreme effects that lack of love and care can result. (hashtag so juicy & hashtag enjoy)
foremost, before we get into the nitty gritty of this film, we need to talk about the non-actor in the room. i know the movie credits some guy named joaquin phoenix but nah, nah. this guy was 100% arthur fleck. you literally cannot see anyone else on the screen other than him!! so, sure (*shoulder shrug*), the credit may go to mr. phoenix, and, sure (*shoulder shrug*), he might've won an oscar for this role, too, BUT WE KNOW. we know the truth. (hehehehehe, this is, like, 90% of how we feel, but, sears, joaquin you deserve straight up 11s from 10%-us, however our scoring cards only go up to 10. so, additionally the bow-down-prasing-emoji goes to you!! 🙇♀️🙇🙇♂️ *is this even the bow down emoji?? hopefully this isn't, like, the twenty-one-pilots-stressed-out emoji?? is there even a bow-down emoji?? 🤷♀️🤷🤷♂️)
now, get ready for the crack-of-the-knuckles-the-hedgehog part of this review, because we are about to analyze the sheesh out of this movie. aka this is where we dive into the beautiful symbolism in this piece. for starters, we meet our main character (arthur) in makeup. he's literally putting on his clown face as the movie starts. now, this doesn't factor into the overall message to this motion picture, however we are understanding, right off the bat, the layered levels of arthur and the film in general. for example, by intro-ing your story with this shot, the audience is distanced from seeing what arthur looks like naturally, and in turn distanced from knowing who the true arthur is. this can also be paralleled to the difference between who arthur is at heart and how the society assumes arthur is. another connection from this single shot can conclude how arthur in his clown makeup is what arthur feels most at home in, which acknowledges that (spoiler) after he has had enough with people treating him badly and is fed up, he escapes and becomes joker. (escapism in the true form) make sense?? along with this, we want to talk about the stairs. YES, the iconic stairs. this is prime time symbolic gold. in the beginning of the joker, arthur is teased and treated like a lost cause, specifically speaking (spoiler) when he's beat up after his sign is stolen and how his therapist doesn't want to listen to him. *sidenote: if you have a therapist like that, find another therapist*. so in the doozey-dumps of all this, we see arthur effort up the tall stairs. and, without sounding like a scholarly prick and just assuming you know this, stairs in movies can be related to obstacles. so, arthur is really on the struggs bus, and we can see that as he trudges his way up these stairs. YET, when he is feeling confident in that middle-fingers-to-the-society-emo-mood with nothing standing in his way, we watch as (spoiler) arthur - not only walks down the stairs - dances down them. and that really portrays to the audience how he is feeling. and we can tell. like, c'mon it is dramatic af but in the best way possible. AND we don't get a infopacket trying to convey what that scene is screaming. round of applause to everyone for that one!!
in our best efforts to wind this review up, we have one last shout out to brief with you. and that is this movies comic connection. it is always important, just like any adaption made, to look at how the two are similar and/or different and figure out the homage-percent and the respectability-percent that it comes down to. can we respect the choices to make things different? where they essential and beneficial to the story? or are we mad that they f-ed up a fav? - all great questions to consider? luckily for the joker, both of us can agree on this matter. for one, we were both happy to see that the movie played true to the og joker comic book characteristics, in that, just like the comics, the joker murders people with morbid joke-telling (you know the use of 'happy' in that cinema-obsessive-creepy-way). additionally, it was a real fun and creative twist to how (spoiler) bruce wayne's parents died. if you know anything about comics or the batman storyline, you are fully aware of the iconic pearl scattering moment. and it is beyond breathtaking in this film. and just to be fair, although this film is far from sucky, we would be ignorant to say that if you are a hard core joker fan, we must warn (spoiler) he is never dressed in a purple suit, like the classic comic drawing depicts. sorry.
finally wrapping up this babble, the clear winner in the film's entirety is its moral and ethical inspiring and debating take. this tale that is the joker brilliantly entertains and makes you think - or possibly even question what you used to believe. with a variety of well written messages, the one we want to end with is the simplest: don't be a douche. and it is by cleverly using a notoriously hated and twisted comic villain that enhances the spotlight on this message, skillfully implementing empathy and drawing awareness to this piece of information.
it is the joker's untraditional-ness that allows it to become one of the best film allegories in cinematic history!!
-- thanks, joaquin xo