Girl Gone Smart: A guest review of Joker

Girl Gone Smart is happy to welcome a guest post today from Mike, who wants to tell you about the new movie, Joker.

It's truly a cinematic masterpiece and Joaquin Phoenix deserves an Oscar. I don't have much to say about the rest of the cast as Phoenix pretty much carries the entire movie on his own, with one exception noted below.

This is an origin story so it showcases how and why the Joker came to exist. There has been a lot of press about how this movie has the potential to inspire real violence. I agree with that statement, but it's difficult to explain how or why with such a sensitive, and rightly so, subject of mental illness.

The movie itself is not overly violent. I believe I counted four scenes total in which someone dies. That is not where the fear lies. The fear comes from the expertly portrayed tension between the haves and the have nots. Typically in a movie like this, the haves are portrayed as greedy, evil, etc. Joker does a great job of not pigeon-holing either side into the common stereotypes. Timing is everything and this movie is being released at a rather uncomfortable time in America, hence the fear.

Why does Phoenix deserve an Oscar? Not since Taxi Driver has a complete and utter mental break down been so expertly portrayed on screen. For that reason, I thought it was pretty cool that Robert DeNiro was his costar. He does a great job, but Phoenix is the star here.

It's uncomfortable to watch, especially if you suffer from any sort of mental disorder or mental illness, of which you're aware. There were only about 20 people in the showing I went to - two walked out - one person left around 30 min in. Another left around the one hour mark. I understood. They didn't leave because the movie was bad, but I imagine they were ill at ease. Be prepared for it.

The pacing is perfect. It clocks in right around two hours, and those two hours will feel like 30 min. I'm still shaking my head.

The big debate is whether Phoenix portrayed The Joker better than Ledger. In my opinion, it's not a fair question. They were both brilliant. If anything, this movie makes Ledger's performance even better.

Go see the movie. It's perfect. It's uncomfortable. It's brilliant. Do not be afraid to get up and walk out if you need to.

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