Joker

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.

68%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 548

88%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 66,274
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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.

Cast

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
View All

News & Interviews for Joker

Critic Reviews for Joker

All Critics (548) | Top Critics (55) | Fresh (373) | Rotten (175)

  • What cannot be argued is that Phoenix has once again turned in an Oscar-worthy performance...

    December 11, 2019 | Full Review…
  • A movie that borders on genius-repellant, dark, terrifying, disgusting, brilliant and unforgettable.

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

    Rex Reed

    Observer
    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.

    October 4, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • While it succeeds in aping the superficial aspects of [Martin] Scorsese's style, "Joker" lacks the intelligence or gravitas of Scorsese's best work.

    October 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.

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

    October 4, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Joker

  • Feb 19, 2020
    DC abandons their Extended Cinematic Universe and attempts to revive the Batman franchise with the indie character drama Joker. The story follows a psychologically disturbed clown named Arthur Fleck who's an aspiring comic as he's fired from his job and gets a shot on a late night talk show after the host riffs on a video of one of Fleck's stand-up routes. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, and Brett Cullen, the film has a pretty decent cast that gives good performances; though Phoenix often overacts, drawing attention to how weird and eccentric he's being for no reason. And the liberal politics are not in any way subtle, overshadowing the plot at time. Still, it does do some interesting things with the Batman mythos and there are some exciting and fun action scenes. Yet while Joker is a novel addition to the Batman franchise, the film style doesn't really feel apiece with the material.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 01, 2020
    Positives: Acting, script, cinematography, iconic makeup,? and visual effects Negatives: Lack of supporting cast, relies on older films for substance and can be slow at parts of the movie
    John H Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2020
    "Why so (self-)serious?" Todd Phillip's JOKER is exactly what I expected it to be. It's a great showcase of Joaquin Phoenix' acting prowess as he delves into a character and contorts himself emotionally and physically, becoming a distillation of our morbid and troubled times. It's also Phillips' attempt to capture the magic of Martin Scorcese's 70's output, namely THE KING OF COMEDY and TAXI DRIVER, then releasing it in a modern sociopolitical context to comment on mass shootings and the Occupy movement...and failing to say anything of substance about those things. Well what did you expect? It's still just a comic book movie and a somewhat boring one at that. If you ran the slow motion sequences (which mostly consist of Phoenix grooving on the steps from THE EXORCIST to your favorite 60's cuts) at regular speed, the film would just barely hit the 90 minute mark, but OH NO you're gonna watch him dance and you're gonna like it! It's supposed to be poignant too, so make sure you wallow in Arthur Fleck's "mental illness" and sympathize with him, not for the fundamentals of his character but rather because of the society that victimized him to the point of becoming a homicidal maniac. This is not to fault the storytelling here because it is as plausible a scenario for creating the iconic Joker character as any you will find. However, what it says of mass shootings and their correlation to a certain demographic (one that I happen to be a member of) is the equivalent of a Fox News anchor chiding mental health services for the Las Vegas massacre. Uh, yeah, there's more we could do for people struggling with psychological issues, but handing out more pills and scheduling extra therapy sessions has nothing to do with how anyone outside of active military, much less a suicidal compulsive gambler could stockpile 23 rifles, 15 of which were outfitted with bump fire stocks. Obviously, this issue is more complicated than one movie could attempt to address, but it makes Phillip's nihilistic (and I rarely use this word unless I mean it) take that much more pretentious - and to some degree exploitative. Knowing that you can market something because it's sure to rustle some jimmies requires a modicum of social responsibility, and here it is executed joylessly and largely without any true insight into its broader implications. But, hey, it is directed by the guy who gave us THE HANGOVER trilogy, so that's no big surprise. If I wanted to see a violent, conflicted anti-Hero played by Joaquin Phoenix teeter on the borderline of sanity, I'd just watch YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE again. But even as a Batman spinoff film, I can't help but think most genre fans will be bored and leave the theater a little more depressed than when they came in. As for the fear that this movie will spur something like the Aurora theater shootings hearkening back to the release of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, I'm doubtful that this film will serve as anything more than a leaking tap to the building frustrations of those who were already planning some violent public demonstration.
    Steve L Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2020
    A movie I've had to sit on for several days and I think I'll have to sit on even longer. Controversial, dangerous, these are words thrown around a lot with this movie. I guess I see why, but maybe not for the right reason. It's asking questions, but a lot of people are getting the wrong thing out of those questions. Are they questions that have been asked before? Have they been asked in a similar way? Sure, but maybe not in this climate and certainly not with this character, and that's what makes it different. Without going too deep into my own theories, the biggest thing I got out of it is "help people". There were so many points where this slow-motion car crash could have been stopped, but it didn't. Another thing is, how much are other people to blame? These are interesting questions, and what makes it more interesting is knowing this character and where he ends up. As to the violence, none of the violence is particularly over the top in a Deadpool or Michael Bay sort of way, but that's sort of what makes it more uncomfortable. It's grounded and unnerving. It's also very Joker-ish, with some scenes that are weirdly playful in a bizarre way where you don't really know what he's going to do. This was a unique direction to take this character, and Joaquin Phoenix kills it as Arthur/Joker with a empathic psychopath. It's a thoughtful but uncomfortable feel-bad sort of movie I'm still thinking about and really want to talk about. I don't get that sort of movie often enough.
    Michael M Super Reviewer

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