This article we’re going to be going over DC’s latest comic book movie: Joker and why all of the clocks in the film are set to 11 minutes past 11.
This motif pops up at several times throughout the movie and in this, we’re going to be breaking down why this could be as well as what Director Todd Phillip’s and star Joaquin Phoenix’s have said about the theory.
There will be heavy spoilers here, so if you haven’t had a chance to watch the film yet and don’t want anything ruined then I highly recommend that you turn off now. The last thing we wanna do is wipe the smile off that face so this is your last chance to back out.
With that out the way, I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this, now let’s get into our breakdown of why all of the clocks in Joker are set to 11:11.
Joker Clocks Theory
Throughout Joker, almost every time a clock is seen it points to the time 11 minutes past 11. This seems pretty deliberate and though Todd Philips denies this has any meaning behind it, it pops up far too often to be just a coincidence unless someone on the set is just really really lazy.
The first instance that this happens in is during Arthur’s meeting with his psychiatrist. Sat in her office he talks about his mental state as well as the journal of jokes that he has been keeping. Whilst the hiiiiiilarious jokes in there are what caught our attention first time round, when rewatching the movie on the back wall of the Psychiatrist’s office you can see a clock set to 11 minutes past 11. Though this doesn’t seem like anything special during the conversation, the talk-back and forth moves to Joker’s time in Arkham Asylum and we do a quick cut to him trapped within a cell, banging his head against the wall. In the top right, in a similar position to the psychiatrist’s office, we can clearly see another clock set to the exact same time.
Now, I’ll get into what I think this means later but to me, this is set like this, at the same time, on purpose in a similar position for a very specific reason.
The Second Clock
Later in the film, Joker is fired from his job as a clown for hire for taking a gun to a children’s ward. Upon leaving his job, the character punches out and dramatically smashes the clock off the wall that is used to keep time cards. Again, the time on this is exactly 11:11 and once more it carries forward this motif of being a specific time that a big moment for the character happens.
Another appearance of a clock later in the film comes when Joker is in the dressing room of The Murray Frankling Studio. We get a look at a clock that displays the time 10:40 and though this is not the time that we’ve been obsessing over in the video thus far, it’s a safe assumption to make that by the time Joker gets on the show and eventually shoots Murray, that it would roughly be about 11 minute past 11.
Now whilst this is purely guesswork I think it fits in with prior evidence in the movie and it cements for me at the very least that this has been put there for a very specific reason for this.
The Meaning Of The Clocks In Joker
Now if we go above an beyond in our research then the numbers 11:11 have a very special meaning to them that dates back over the centuries and has been present in our culture for a very very long time.
This is because in the King James Bible, Chapter and Verse 11:11 the following passage can be found:
“Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.”
This pretty much sounds like it is referring to Joker directly who is very much getting revenge on a city and people that he views as wronging him which we see throughout the film. Those who’ve seen the movie ‘Us’ by Jordan Peele may also remember that 11:11 pops up throughout that movie and it is referring to the same thing that I believe the Joker movie is hinting at.
All In Joker’s Mind?
Anyway, another theory that seems to be gaining weight because of the time on the clocks throughout the movie is that the events of the film, on the whole, may be taking place predominantly in Joker’s head. First off we know that the character is prone to delusions throughout the film, firstly imagining that he’s on the Murray Franklin show as an audience member that wins the hearts of everyone and secondly in believing that he and his neighbor Sophie are having a romantic relationship. Both turn out to be untrue and it’s possible that the brief glimpse at the asylum that we see early on in the movie and then at the end are actually the real circumstances that Arthur is in and he is simply making up the story.
The Joker famously states in the graphic novel, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore, that if he has a past he would prefer it to be multiple choice and this story that is shown purely from Arthur’s perspective could be purely made up by the character in order for him to weave a narrative that he was the son of a rich billionaire that cast him aside and that he ultimately ended up bringing down the family by causing an uprising where he was seen as a hero.
It’s definitely possible and it does seem very strange that the clocks in the movie are all at the exact same time when Arthur has a defining moment in his life such as him leaving his job or getting revenge on someone that nationally mocked him.
Todd Phillips And Joaquin Phoenix Discuss The Fan Theory
Though it seems like there is a lot of evidence to support this however, Todd Phillips is flat out denying it has any correlation at all and in an interview with cinemablend the filmmaker said the following when discussing the matter:
‘It’s a coincidence. … No, I mean, I don’t know. I think it’s a coincidence. That’s two times. Is there another time? … No, no that’s just interesting.’
Backing this up Joaquin Phoenix also said the following when asked about the theory and if the numbers held any significance.
‘Paul is dead. Paul is Dead. [inaudible] The Beatles. [laughs] What I’m saying is, I do know that there are some of those things that we put in, whatever the fuck you call them… yeah. I mean, I think some of them you might read into. That’s the ‘Paul is Dead’ joke that I’m making. But no, 11:11 didn’t mean anything to me personally.’
For those who don’t know this is in reference to a conspiracy theory that was floating around the 60s that had some fans believing that Paul McCartney of The Beatles had died and been replaced by an actor that had had plastic surgery in order to look like him so that the band could continue to make money for the record label. I don’t wanna get too much into the detail of it as it’ll get a little off topic but it’s definitely something that’s worth looking into if you have any more questions on it. There’s a lot of evidence to support the theory but then why didn’t they do it when John Lennon died, look nevermind.
My Thoughts On The Clock Theory
Back to the subject at hand, it looks like they are both being pretty coy about this and denying that there is any further meaning to it so hey, maybe it could just mean that a broken clock is right twice a day, I really don’t know but personally I think it seems like far too much of a coincidence to simply be put there unintentionally.
Could Philips himself be lying about it? I don’t know but it adds another layer to what is already a film full of misdirects, false truths and events that are guided purely by a perspective which massively makes this movie worth returning to for one more visit just to see if there’s anything else that it could be hiding.
This is a film that has someone who doesn’t have a full grip on reality and it’s great watching people question every aspect of the film and really picking it apart. It shows just how complex of a film that this truly is and similar to the Joker himself, how much more there is going on beneath the surface that needs to be examined. It’s why the character has been one of the best villains ever created since his inception over 80 years ago and hopefully this video has helped you to gain a new appreciation for the movie so that next time you go back and watch it you start coming up with your own theories on exactly what is going on and why certain things that are part of the set are made in a certain way.
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on this theory and if you agree that the clocks have a hidden meaning or if you just think that it’s all one big coincidence as Philips and Phoenix say. Did the movie happen in his head? Is Paul dead? Comment below and let me know!