Critics Consensus

Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star -- and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.



Total Count: 492


Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 50,807
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Movie Info

"Joker" centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips' exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham's fracturedsociety. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night...but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.


Joaquin Phoenix
as Arthur Fleck / Joker
Robert De Niro
as Murray Franklin
Zazie Beetz
as Sophie Dumond
Brett Cullen
as Thomas Wayne
Douglas Hodge
as Alfred Pennyworth
Josh Pais
as Hoyt Vaughn
Jolie Chan
as Street Worker
Mary Kate Malat
as Murray Franklin Intern
Dante Pereira-Olson
as Young Bruce Wayne
Sharon Washington
as Social Worker
Elizabeth Bluhm
as Protestor
David Iacono
as Flirting Man On Bus
Chuck Taber
as Delivery Man
Adrienne Lovette
as Middle Aged Woman
Tony D. Head
as WGC News Anchor
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News & Interviews for Joker

Critic Reviews for Joker

All Critics (492) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (336) | Rotten (156)

  • A movie that borders on genius-repellant, dark, terrifying, disgusting, brilliant and unforgettable.

    Oct 7, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • If there is a meaningful difference between performing and acting, Joaquin Phoenix surely exemplifies the former here, creepily contorting as the Clown Prince of Crime in Todd Phillips' timely, toxic take on the Making of a Murdering Madman.

    Oct 4, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • "Joker" is a movie that you ignore at your own peril.

    Oct 4, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A movie of a cynicism so vast and pervasive as to render the viewing experience even emptier than its slapdash aesthetic does.

    Oct 4, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Bleak and juvenile

    Oct 4, 2019 | Full Review…
  • If you're feeling insufficiently anxious in your life, "Joker" could be just the ticket. If not, look elsewhere to be entertained.

    Oct 3, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Joker

  • 3d ago
    THE WILD CARD OF COMEDY - My Review of JOKER (4 Stars) Martin Scorsese's The King Of Comedy remains my favorite of his films. Just as Network presaged the news would devolve into entertainment, Scorsese's film predicted the consequences of a pop culture-obsessed society in which amorality wins in the end. The rise of Robert De Niro's Rupert Pupkin, a struggling comic who lives with his mother and helps kidnap a talk show host in order to get on the air, feels quaint when compared to Joker, its nihilistic, spiritual cousin. With De Niro cast, this time, as the successful talk show host, Joker comes across as King's bloodier, darker sequel of sorts. Add elements of Taxi Driver and bits of Michael Jackson's story, and you get this immersive, disturbing film from Todd Phillips, best known as the director of the Hangover franchise. For me, it's one of the most impressive leaps forward for a filmmaker since Craig Maizin (coincidentally no stranger to the Hangover films) shucked off his big, dumb comedy skills and created Chernobyl. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Arthur Fleck, a professional clown who has an unnamed, but Tourette's syndrome adjacent, condition which causes him to laugh at the most inopportune times. His meager existence, which includes living in squalor and caring for his dying mother (France Conroy), serves as a stark contract to his vivid inner life in which he's a sweet, promising standup comic who fantasizes about appearing on The Murray Franklin Show. Arthur, ever the unreliable narrator of his own story, suffers from extreme ostracization and bullying, barely able to ever make it home without taking a beating in a dingy alleyway. It's no wonder Arthur feels like the living, breathing exemplar of a mental breakdown. Phillips and his talented cinematographer, Lawrence Sher, hone in on Arthur and never let go, employing shallow focus, disorienting music, and the constant threat of violence to convince you how easily the outcasts of the world can snap and exert their power. Joker by no means provides a fun experience, but it has a relentless, consistent focus on the mindset of a good-natured guy who has reached his limits of abuse. More character study than your typically action-packed DC Comics movie, Joker has a slow burn, much like Taxi Driver. Arthur, like Travis Bickle and Pupkin, can't seem to impress the women in their sights. In Arthur's case, she's Sophie (Zazie Beetz), a single mother in his building. Guys like Arthur, however, never find love, especially when they're too busy getting kicked. When it seems the world has conspired against him too many times, Arthur adopts his Joker persona and, like Bickle, commits a series of horrendous murders. His antiestablishment stances inspire a burgeoning cult of mask-wearing followers, a scarier, extremist version of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The film feels like a product of our current times, where unfit leaders proliferate and civil discourse has evaporated. It has no expansive CGI sequences and only a hint of a big, action set piece. It's all about character, character, character. In other words, this is one comic book film I can truly embrace. Every moment feels overwhelming, dire and sad. Phoenix goes deep here, flailing about, doing a little tap dance because that's what he thinks of as entertainment, and making your heart break for a guy who can't seem to catch one. Even when he snags that proverbial golden ticket late in the film, he can't help but make a grand mess of it all. Although he plays one of the most notorious of supervillains, Phoenix bleeds for his character and while not making him necessarily sympathetic, his actions feel supported by the crushing society he endures. His performance has so much humanity, filled with rage, psychosis, and yes, an aching need to feel acceptance and love. Sometimes when Phoenix gets lost in a character, I only notice the hard work. Here, I felt his passion. Occasionally, Phillips brings us sequences of Arthur blissing out to music, waving his arms around like a conductor on a drug-fueled high. The song selections here could have been less on the nose, with such titles as "That's Life", "Send In The Clowns" and "Smile" filling up an obvious set list, but Phoenix sells this as his inner soundtrack nonetheless. It also has too many endings, which leads to a little confusion in the final moments. I would have preferred the final shot be of Arthur standing on top of a car much like Michael Jackson did at his infamous molestation trial, and greeting his acolytes. The similarities between these two "freaks" could not feel more pronounced than in this sequence. Ultimately, I'm not sure what Joker is trying to say. Is it conservative? Liberal? Are we celebrating his crimes because we know his pain? Or are his actions those of a person with a persecution complex who only deserves our scorn? Is he the love child of Rupert Pupkin and Travis Bickle, who gets away with far more than those two did combined? I'm not exactly sure, but as a cautionary tale of what happens to the people we throw away, Joker, while one of the ugliest filmgoing experiences I've had in a long while, deals a pummeling but winning hand.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • 5d ago
    #TheJokerMovie proves yet again that MCU is fun. DCU isn't. Yes, Joaquin Phoenix delivers an amazing, hard-to-watch, performance, but the origin story is a failure. According to this, Joker is about 40 years older than Batman. Huh? Movie ended. No applause. Everyone just filed out quietly as the credits rolled.Worth checking out for Joaquin's acting, but not to be entertained, just depressed.
    Joe S Super Reviewer
  • 6d ago
    Joker, for all its hyped up controversy, could have done with a bit more fleshing out of its themes and its central figure. We do get to know Arthur quite well as a human, but I never truly felt like there was a switch from him being a misunderstood outcast, to him falling into insanity. The film is a psychological thriller, without a ton of psychology to its theme of mental illness. Often times, Todd Phillips seems to have the rough draft on paper for a truly daring film, but that's all it really feels like; a rough draft. By the end of the admittedly disturbing transformation of Joker, I was simultaneously unsettled, terrified, but hollow, thinking there were places the film truly could have capitalized on the ideas being displayed about our society's fascination with violence and the forces that push a man to madness. In today's day and age the film hits almost too close to home, but the chances to further deepen the film are missed, and the film settles at the end into feeling somewhat like a sketch of a film. Joaquin Phoneix, however, delivers a goosebumps inducing performance, delving into the most uncomfortable realm of humanity. What Phillips is trying to say at the end of the film, is rather interpreted by its audience, but it is slightly alarming that we as an audience don't know what stance the director is even taking on the subject of violence. Joker is thoroughly riveting filmmaking, but less fully thought out, than one would hope. Rating: 62
    Bradley J Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2019
    I can't endorse this movie because it's so violent and disturbing and not for any needed reason either. But, hats off to Phoenix who becomes this villain full force and the performance is brave, strong and scary. The tie in with the Batman story is clumsy. Some of the supporting actors are strong but DeNiro plays DeNiro. Not for any one under 18 in my opinion! 10-12-2019
    Christopher O Super Reviewer

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