After all the anticipation, all the controversy and all the discussion, Joker is finally in theaters and people are showing up in huge numbers to see the most talked-about film of the year. While opinions on the movie are divided, many people agree it is a bold and powerful take on the iconic comic book villain.
The movie is a dark examination of a man suffering and a city that is ignoring him. The way Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) views the world is disturbing, but also provides a fascinating insight into the man. This results in some truly unforgettable lines in the film. Here are 10 quotes from Joker that will stick with us forever.
10 "Is It Just Me Or Is It Getting Crazier Out There?"
In Batman lore, Gotham is usually depicted as a broken city before Batman arrives to save the day. However, the Gotham we see in Joker is even bleaker. The '70s setting provides a gritty feel to the place, and it always feels like it is a city about to go up in flames.
The conditions of Gotham likely play a huge role in Arthur's descent into madness. As the film begins, we see Arthur talking to his social worker and he struggles with how terrible things have gotten. It is a haunting hint at how bad things will be by the end of the film.
9 "You Don't Listen, Do You?"
The idea of being ignored and overlooked is a big theme in Joker. Arthur is a man who is struggling in life and needs help, but the world around him is uncaring. When he visits with his social worker, he communicates the frustration of that feeling.
As she tells him that their program is being cut, Arthur laments that even in this space where he is supposed to get help, he is ignored. He wants people to listen to him and take notice. As the story goes on, we see that he's willing to go to extremes to get noticed.
8 "Someone Who Hides Behind A Mask."
The movie gives us a very different version of Thomas Wayne than we have ever seen before. Instead of the dedicated businessman who wants to use his resources to help the people of Gotham, he is a self-involved man of privilege who refuses to consider the needs of the less fortunate.
After Arthur kills some abusive men on the subway, reports come out about a vigilante in a clown mask. Wayne gives his own opinion about cowards that hide behind masks. This is a not-so-subtle nod to his son's future, and it connects Joker and Batman in an interesting way.
7 "People Are Starting To Notice."
After the subway murders, something awakens in Arthur and he seems to have discovered some twisted purpose. More disturbingly, he seems to inspire other desperate people in the city through his murderous actions.
Arthur finally sees himself getting attention and that feeds into his sense of meaning. He has accidentally become a symbol of Gotham's revolution, and is willing to continue down this dark path so he is no longer ignored.
6 "I Hope My Death Makes More Cents Than My Life."
Arthur's dream of becoming a stand-up comedian is a tragic one, as his failure at accomplishing that purpose leads him to his much darker one. However, it also gives interesting insight into his disturbed mind. Arthur doesn't seem to understand humor in the same way others do, as evidenced by his "joke journal."
Among these strange scribblings and ideas, there is one phrase he keeps returning to, "I hope my death makes more cents than my life." It is a hint at Arthur's dissatisfaction with his current life but also convinces him he's meant for something greater.
5 "I Used To Think My Life Was A Tragedy..."
The tragedy of Arthur's character is that he truly does want to bring joy and laughter to the world — it's just that the world doesn't want it from him. He tries to maintain this joyful outlook even with his life as difficult as it is. But when things continue to pile upon him, it gets too much to bear.
When Arthur visits his mother in the hospital after finding out about how he was abused as a child, he adopts a new outlook. He says "I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it's a f**king comedy."
4 "The Worst Part Of Having A Mental Illness…"
Though many people probably went into this movie thinking they would see a violent and dark take on the comic book film, Joker is much more about the exploration of having a mental health condition and how society reacts to it.
Arthur suffers from severe mental illness but we see little sympathy for his condition. This relates to his feeling about being ignored. One profound and heartbreaking entry in his journal reads, "The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don't."
3 "All I Have Are Negative Thoughts."
The movie raises the disturbing idea that a villain like Joker might never have been created if people had just listened. Arthur knows he is sick and he wants help, but the world's disinterest in him and his struggle causes his downward spiral.
As Arthur meets with his social worker, he criticizes her for asking the same questions and not actually caring about the answers. His cry for help once again falls on deaf ears. It is a heartbreaking and frightening line delivered perfectly by Phoenix.
2 "You Wouldn't Get It."
As we follow Arthur on his dark journey, the movie continues to play around with the idea of reality. We see things happen that later are revealed to be inside Arthur's mind. This leads to the ending, which hints at the possibility that the entire thing could have been a "joke" in Arthur's head.
After Arthur is celebrated in the streets during the riots, the film quickly cuts to him in custody in Arkham Asylum. As he laughs, the doctor asks if he would like to share the joke. He simply responds, "You wouldn't get it," which leaves an uneasy question of what is going on in his head.
1 "You Get What You F**king Deserve!"
When Arthur is invited onto the late-night show hosted by Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), you just know something bad is going to happen. Indeed, Arthur takes this moment to debut his Joker persona and hold society accountable.
After admitting to killing the men on the subway, Arthur criticizes Murray and others for how they treat people like him. He then ends with a final joke, "What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash? You get what you f**kin' deserve!" He then murders Murray on live television in the movie's most shocking moment.