(2019) (Joaquin Phoenix, Frances Conroy) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Dramatic Thriller: An already troubled man resorts to violence when his life starts to further unravel.
- Arthur Fleck (JOAQUIN PHOENIX) is a man who lives with and cares for his ailing mom, Penny (FRANCES CONROY), in their late 1970s or early '80s Gotham apartment. An aspiring stand-up comedian who idolizes late-night TV talk show host Murray Franklin (ROBERT DE NIRO), Arthur works for a rent-a-clown business alongside coworkers such as Randall (GLENN FLESHLER) and Gary (LEIGH GILL), and thinks he might have some sort of connection with Sophie Dumond (ZAZIE BEETZ), a single mom who lives just down the hall.
But things aren't right with Arthur. Having been previously institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital and featuring a nervous tic that shows up as uncontrollable laughter, he's always on edge and must contend with disapproving looks, bullying and even being attacked. When he loses his job, he further continues to unravel and ends up killing three men who attacked him while he's dressed as a clown, thus sending already-present anti-rich sentiment in the city into full-blown protests.
That doesn't sit well with Gotham tycoon Thomas Wayne (BRETT CULLEN) who's running for mayor and who, according to Penny, will help them out -- what with her saying she worked for him long ago -- once he realizes the squalor in which they live. When that doesn't work out and now feeling alive and empowered by his act, Arthur decides violence is his recourse against those who've wronged him in any way.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- It's a good bet many teens will.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images.
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