I have yet to find words that can articulate the marvel and genius that is this piece of art. I’ve seen the film 3 times in 4 days, and I still haven’t had enough. And I don’t think it’s just about the story, but about wanting to be in close proximity to magic. The thing about this movie is that it is exactly the kind of movie that has the power to change the world, and to be in the presence of that power is extremely nourishing. You see, it is a story about all of us. About the darkness that has befallen our world because of our need to other. Take today, for example, it is a day like any other, as are we, each one of us, a human like any other. And to that extent, it means we have all othered and been othered. We are all an other in some way to some one. It is the natural product of the language we use. As each word has an opposite, each idea too. Good the opposite of evil, and god the opposite of devil.
The reason this film is so important today is because our humanity is at a crossroads. Change is here, and it is now up to us to listen closely to the aids that come our way, the mirrors that are reflecting us back to us, warning us of our demise, the mirrors offering us an out, an escape. But listen we must. Open our eyes, we must. It is not enough to just observe anymore, for we have observed for too long. We have given power to a select few to take action on our behalf and forgotten that each one of us can take action too. It is no longer sufficient to point fingers at those representatives of state whom we’ve elected or doctors we’ve trusted or teachers we’ve surrendered our minds to. It is up to us now. It is up to us to reclaim our power. That is what Joker is about in my view. It is about re-empowering our selves. Reclaiming what is ours. Not taking back what others have taken from us. But taking back the otherness we have imposed on others and on the world. It is not about being anti-state or anti-rich or anti-corporations, it is about embracing the anti. Whomever and whatever we’ve anti-ed. The world, politics, history — all narratives told of one side versus another. It is time we come together and relinquish the need to tell our story versus anything at all, for it has all in fact been versus ourselves. It starts with embracing the other gender, the other race, the other human. It all begins with us, and it will all end with us. The question is do we want it to end by us now?
Whatever views and whatever beliefs you hold so tight and so dear to your identity, this film is inviting you to un-identify, for it is the identifying in the first place that has caused this otherness. It is when we so rigidly subscribe ourselves to a belief that we exclude ourselves from others, thereby othering ourselves. It is not the otherness that is done unto us, it is in fact the otherness we do unto ourselves. The whole point of the film, in my view, can be summed up in a single line where Joker expressed his lack of belief, “I don’t believe in anything”. That is exactly what transformed Arthur Fleck into Joker. And that is exactly what he’s inviting us to do to ignite the Joker within us. It is precisely the I don’t believe in any(particular)thing that is inclusive of everyone. It is that lack of attachment to beliefs, that lack of particularity about what you do and don’t believe that brings people together. It is what unifies us into an “us” rather than splitting us into a “they and them”. I know this might be a little too philosophical, but the state of the world, of nature, of our internal lives is in dire need of deep reflection. We cannot ignore what is right in front of us. Like it is a crime to watch another kill another without doing anything, it is too a crime to watch our societies kill each other, kill nature, kill our minds without doing anything. It is an action too to chose to do nothing. But it isn’t nothing we should do, rather nothing we should believe in. It is our belief in no(particular)thing that will save our humanity, that will fill our hearts once more with compassion and our faces with kindness.
I hope that love finds our world once more, for it has been gone too long. And not because it has been taken from us, but because we have been choosing to give it to particular people and refusing to give it to others. By discriminating with our love, we have chosen to only love some(particular)things and refused to love every(particular)thing. And to love everything, we must be inclusive with our love and not love any(particular)thing. And you see the only way to be open to not love any(particular)thing is to be open too with our beliefs and not believe in any(particular)thing.
One last important takeaway from this film – which I think has been gravely misunderstood and the reason too it is so controversial – is that we need not set actual fires or fire bullets to ignite change, the destructive power of creativity is more than enough to transform anything. And the film itself is exactly that — it is the creative bullet that has ignited a fire within all of us and threatens to destroy our belief systems more than any actual bullet or fire can ever do. The story is about the internal life of a person, and so the violence too is metaphorical and reflects the destruction and the movement that creativity ignites within all of us. This film is about waking up the Joker within all of us, and the power and unity that comes when we break free from our deep need to associate with anything, that is how we all become the clown, one human indistinguishable from another, united! Isn’t that what shedding our egos is all about?
Thank you for reading! And please share and help spread the love.