3 communication myths that Joker managed to bust
Blog - Oct 28, 2019
It’s been long since a film has provoked such a storm of reactions across the globe. Regardless of what people say about Joker, criticising or praising the film, its plot, idea and messages it communicates, one thing is certain: Joaquin Phoenix has given performance of a lifetime. Therefore, the character of Arthur Fleck, which is Joker’s actual name, has embedded exceptionally strong messages that’ll be analysed and discussed for a long time.
From this perspective, it doesn’t matter whether Joker will win an Oscar, or whether Phoenix will get the award that many actors can only dream about, or what’s right when we debate about this film… here we are talking about an extremely rare phenomenon: since the film has so many layers, with the character of Joker diving deep in the state of mind an average individual, we cannot ignore brilliant communication messages disseminated by this film. Furthermore, Joaquin Phoenix as Joker busts open three big communication myths.
Myth no. 1: Modesty is not a virtue in communications
Wrong – modesty is definitely a virtue. The man who has brought Arthur Fleck to life, the character which has forever changed everything we have ever thought and felt about Joker, either as a comic book or a film character (since the film has almost nothing to do with the comic book), is incredibly modest, withdrawn and simple when the cameras are off. “Let others praise or criticise, just be the best version of yourself,” seems to be the motto followed by this actor. After so many events, flashlights, red carpets, public appearances… he’s remained simple, humble, modest, even complaining to the press on several occasions that he feels a bit uncomfortable answering certain questions. We cannot say that everyone is able to deal with so much overwhelming attention – many lose their way. Not everyone can carry the burden of fame, especially the burden of the role that has really divided the world. Joaquin does it so easily (or at least that’s how he brilliantly presents it to us), that sometimes it seems that he is not aware of the success he has accomplished and the frenzy he has caused.
Myth no. 2: Good communication is based on words
Absolutely wrong – non-verbal communication is often much stronger than verbal one. Joker, namely Arthur Fleck laughs a lot in the film, but it’s not a regular laugh. It’s a cry for help, a laugh of powerlessness, a sound of silence when faced with injustice all around us, a scream of non-acceptance, rejection and prejudice only because someone’s different. And who’s to say what’s normal and what’s not? Who’s “normal” and who’s not? And how can anyone have the right to bully someone only because he is different? Additionally, Joker’s most impressive moment is dancing – dancing on the stairs, dancing in the bathroom… the latter was even added to the story by Joaquin himself, it was not a part of the original script. His dancing, moves, facial expressions and laughter say a lot more than all the words ever spoken. The messages communicated by Arthur Fleck in the moments of “silence” are deep, multilayered and subject to various interpretations.
Myth no. 3: It is possible to control communication
It’s not, perhaps only sometimes and to a certain extent. Arthur Fleck laughs in moments when it’s not appropriate, but he can’t control the urge. On the other hand, he’s aware of that and prepared for such “attacks”, so he carries a card saying that he’s ill and has uncontrolled outbursts, asking people not to resent him due to unsuitable reactions. And in such situations, some are just abhorred and move away from him, while others get encouraged and become highly aggressive. Besides, this film repeatedly confirms that violence breeds violence – one bizarre moment of the urge to beat up a sick man has turned unfortunate and ill Arthur Fleck into Joker that has disturbed the entire Gotham City – the situation went too far, to the point where no one could control anything.
This film has raised a lot of questions, some of which will probably never be answered. The world will definitely never agree. However, no matter what you think about the film, the character of Joker, one this is certain: you simply have to take a bow in front an artist such as Joaquin Phoenix and applaud until your palms hurt.