A Reflection on “Joker”
Hi all! With the Oscars coming on Sunday I thought it fitting to write a reflection on my pick for Best Picture, “Joker”. In this case I ask the question if are we all Arthur Fleck, the man who would be the clown prince of crime. Heavy spoilers to follow!
The format for this post will be a little different….It is going to be a discussion between myself and a guest blogger named Frankie B, lapsed Catholic and known pessimist (name changed for privacy reasons). Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Film Synopsis here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joker_(2019_film)
Me: Thanks for coming and having this discussion with me Frankie.
Frankie: Thanks for having me.
Me: So you‘be seen the movie and I pose the question to you now…are we all Arthur Fleck?
Frankie: Yes I believe so. I think that, much like the Joker says in The Killing Joke, we are all one bad day or one bad experience away from losing our minds and our souls. Do you not agree?
Me: No I think that we, as humans, are naturally more resilient than the Joker makes us out to be. Arthur could have gone a completely different route in his life if he wanted to. God doesn’t make mistakes or predestines people to misery.
Frankie: Tell that to Arthur! He got the shitty end of life from the start. Adopted and abused by crazy people, no friends, no support system, no faith life…are you going to tell me the guy was not destined for disaster?
Me: True….he got dealt a bad hand. But the turning point was when he murdered that Wayne Enterprises guy in cold blood, He could have let him escape and plead self defense but he chose not to. He could have turned himself in, but he chose not to. Arthur just made poor choice after poor choice which lead to his downward spiral.
Frankie: Oh don’t give me that! He could have, but the system was already proven not to care about anyone. Why would the system of law be any different? Who would they believe? A guy in clown makeup or a Wall Street wonderkid? Arthur did what he had to do!
Me: It doesn’t make it right though. He still could have confessed and repented at some point in his journey….
Frankie: Right! Let me just stop you there…..say he did find God and went to church. I will bet you that the church he chose peddles candy-coated Christianity where everyone has 6 kids, drives a minivan, and nobody has mental illness. In short, Arthur would feel worse than he already did beforehand! Let one of those soccer moms have a child with PTSD or severe depression and see how well their faith stands then!
Me: The chance of repentance is still there though. How do you know a soccer mom’s faith would fail in such adversity? It could strengthen her faith for all we know. Besides, how glorious would it have been if Arthur said “ Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”? A redemptive arc for the ages!
Frankie: Buuuuuuuut no that didn’t happen. Instead we have a dead Robert DeNiro and riots in the streets. No redemptive arc.
Me: Arthur’s story is tragic I will admit. There are so many places he could have turned his life around though.
Frankie: And do what? What was he supposed to do? Live at a homeless shelter indefinitely?
Me: I cannot answer that. All I can say is that God’s love and mercy endure forever, even to Arthur Fleck.
Frankie: Yea about that…..where was God in Arthur’s story?
Me: Waiting for Arthur to rest in Him. I believe If Arthur had a Bible, a friend to hug him, or even just someone to listen to him, really listen…things would have turned out much different.
Frankie: So because he didn’t cry out “have mercy on me” God ignored him? Seems cruel amd callous to me.
Me: I can assure you God was not absent in Arthur’s ordeal. Think about it,…why would an all-loving God turn Arthur aside? It makes no sense. God promised to never leave nor forsake us.
Frankie: Maybe so, but that’s what happened.
Me: God’s love was there, waiting for Arthur to turn to it. God is not going to circumvent Arthur’s free will. Faith the size of a mustard seed would have saved Arthur Fleck. All he needed to do was plant it.
Frankie: Perhaps so.
Me: I know so. That’s why we are all not Arthur Fleck. God’s mercy and love is greater than our circumstances, greater than our pride, and greater than our hate. God WANTS to transform us into something better. It takes the eyes of faith to see it and know it.
Frankie: hmmmm…there’s something we agree on. More faith in God than in people.
Me: Nah I have faith in both. It’s why I do what I do. Should try it sometime…
Frankie: Well this was a fun exercise. Shall we do this again sometime?
Me: Count on it!