Now that the new Joker movie is out in theaters, there are a lot of questions surrounding everything that happens in the film and how it affects the ongoing DC Universe if it does at all. But with Joaquin Phoenix providing such a nuanced take on Batman's greatest supervillain, there are bound to be questions about what's real and what isn't considering the movie blurs the lines of reality. And while some fans are wondering what they can trust, one of the biggest clues comes at the end of the film.
Director Todd Phillips addressed the use of Joaquin Phoenix's laughs as Arthur Fleck, which are uncontrollable as a side effect of his condition with pseudobulbar affect. It's a real-life uncontrollable laugh, which Phoenix employs throughout the film and it constantly impacts his life. But then, at the film's end after all of the chaos is inflicted, Phoenix's Joker lets out an entirely different chuckle.
“That laugh in that scene is really the only time he laughs genuinely,” Phillips explained to the Los Angeles Times. “There are different laughs in the movie. There is the laugh from Arthur’s affliction and then there is his fake laugh when he’s trying to be ‘one of the people,’ which is my favorite laugh. But at the end, when he’s in the room at Arkham State Hospital, that’s his only genuine laugh in the movie.”
"When Scott Silver and I sat down to write it, we knew enough about the comics," Phillips said. "I read comics when I was a kid, we knew he didn't have an origin story. We also, I don't want to say whether it's real or not because I think part of the fun, I've shown it to many, many different people and they all have a different reaction. Some of them say, 'Oh I get it, I mean the last line in the movie, you wouldn't get it, to a joke he was telling. Well is the joke the movie? Is the joke the thing? Or is the thing about the --' The idea is you don't like to answer those questions, because its nice to see the different things people take away from it."
Joker is now playing in theaters.
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