Earlier in the semester over Fall Break I went to the movie theater to watch the new Joker movie. Having heard so much hype (and some controversy) about the movie going into it, I was really excited to see an origin story about my favorite villain to my favorite superhero. Even more so, I was excited to see the movie because of the stance it took on the mental health crisis all around the world. To quote Dr. Bezio herself, the movie was a lot like watching trauma unfold in front of your eyes. Watching Arthur Fleck’s depressed life as he goes through several traumatic experiences from being mugged, being fired from his only job, losing his medication because of budget cuts, being assaulted again (which prompted him to murder his assailants), and then finding out that his mother had lied to him his entire life about his birth, it was truly horrible to see his mental health continue to worsen. This was truly the bad day (or several bad days) that Alan Moore referenced in his graphic novel “The Killing Joke.” The movie ends with Arthur falling into complete lunacy, turning into an icon for anarchy and murdering a talk show host who disrespected him on live TV. He is incarcerated in Arkham Asylum and now goes by the pseudonym “Joker.”
To me this movie brought to light something that people have been ignoring for too long. There is a serious mental health issue both in the United States and elsewhere, and not enough people are doing anything to ease it. People, like Arthur, who have lived their whole life ostracized and bullied by society are only addressed on the news after they have committed some horrible crime. While it is a good thing that we are discussing the issues of gun control in America, you cannot address that without also addressing the mental health concerns. The fact remains that in many of the cases of mass shootings in America, the shooter had mental health issues that had been ignored for too long. This is something that needs to change everywhere as people like this need the help they deserve.