October 10, 2019 12:44 PM | by Farida Abdel Malek
I Watched Joker: It's Not About a Villain It's About Mental Health
I decided to go against what my anxiety begged me to do and go see 'Joker'. I will not be talking about how iconic Joaquin Phoenix's performance was nor will I be talking about the pros and cons of the movie. I will, however, talk about why I think everybody MUST go and see this movie and today is the perfect time to be talking about this since it's World Mental Health Day...
Good and bad is a concept that we grew up with. Some things are good and some things are bad. Some food is good and some food is bad. These toys are good and these toys are bad. And some people are good, and some people are really really bad. There are villains in the world and those people are just bad. I'm glad I am now in a place in my life where I have completely destroyed this way of thinking and watching the 'Joker' was another insightful moment in my life to further support that.
I would like to clarify though, before I begin, that yes the movie does shed light on what would lead someone to do horrible things, but in no way does it justify it, nor does this article. There should be no excuses for actions like these, however, we really must and should understand what causes them.
This movie highlights that no one is just bad, a villain or a monster, even if it is an iconic character that everyone grew up to know as vicious, like The Joker. The movie takes a step back and shows us the human behind 'the villain'. The movie shows us that he is human and he was in pain, living in a world where he didn't feel understood, appreciated, respected or loved. Sound familiar?
Mental health, an overlooked issue for many years, is a huge umbrella that has a lot of complexities underneath. But one of the most common human sufferings that is behind so many issues like depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, is self worth. The world we live can sometimes be unfair and mean, so we find ourselves losing our self worth and depending on others to give it to us. When left unnoticed for years and having gone through trauma, like in the case of The Joker, we can end up with a very dark and horrifying outcome.
Is it easier to feel worthy when you've been treated kindly and cared for? Of course. Should society be held responsible for creating monsters by not treating humans with basic human decency? Yes. But how much of society can anyone really control? No matter how much we talk about mental health and preach kindness and tell kids not bully at school, how much are we actually going to change?
The truth is we can only try to love ourselves and love our kids fiercely so that when they go out to the world, they will be somewhat grounded and the hits and bumps won't be as hard on them. I'd like to think that if humans are given enough attention, love and care in crucial stages of childhood, the likelihood of being able to brave society and be reminded of self worth would be higher.
I came out of this movie saddened and upset, but extremely hopeful and grateful that people are seeing a different side to humanity. That people are beginning to understand the importance of mental health and that people are looking beyond their opinions and thoughts about others and are beginning to see that there is something else that is very important and it is called empathy. And that the sentence 'you never know what someone is going through' is the most relevant statement of the decade. So, be kind to each other and go see this movie. Please.
Main Image Credits: IMDb
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