With Joker bringing smiles and laughter to a world that’s cruel and dark I thought I’d give my thoughts on the events of the film.
Throughout this, I’ll be breaking down my fan theory that all of the film was in Arthur’s head and all of the evidence to support it. I’ve seen the movie twice now and the second time the pointers were so glaring that I don’t know how I missed them first watch.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want the events of the film ruined then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
This is your last chance to back out but if you’re still here I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this, now let’s get into our breakdown of Joker.
Joker Ending Explained
Ok so Joker tells the story of Arthur Fleck, a nobody in the city of Gotham that rises to the top and causes a riot that sees the death of the Wayne’s.
Joker in the film is an unreliable narrator that often hallucinates and imagines things that simply didn’t happen. But what if the majority of the events in the film didn’t actually happen and pretty much all of it was in the character’s head?
Joker Hidden Twist
Well, personally I believe that the film is actually about an insane inmate at Arkham Asylum that stopped taking his medication and created a fantasy in his head that he started an uprising that lead to the deaths of the city’s most affluent family. He kills his psychiatrist at the end and does a mad dash throughout the halls of the complex before he’s caught and escorted back to his cell.
Now the reason that he hates the Wayne’s and wants to take responsibility for their death is because when he was growing up his mother made him hate the family, most notably Thomas, who she said mistreated her when she worked at the manor. None of the events in the film, bar the few flashes that we see of the Asylum are real and this is simply Arthur imagining that he’s an important figure in Gotham that brought down the person he hates more than anything in the world.
Now whilst I can a lot of people instantly disagreeing with this, there’s actually a lot of evidence to support this.
Firstly let’s jump to the ending of the film when we see Arthur being questioned by his psychiatrist. She asks him ‘what’s so funny?’ and he begins laughing. Arthur simply can’t contain himself and we cut to a scene showing Bruce standing over the bodies of his dead parents which shows that he finds it funny that they died. Arthur then continues laughing and says that ‘you won’t get the joke.’ This is true because the psychiatrist probably won’t know about his dislike for the Waynes and even if she did she wouldn’t understand why he would take so much glee in their death.
This seems like the first real, genuine laugh from Arthur in the film, who up until this point, has been only laughing due to his condition. But what if during the entire events of the film, he was actually always in the Asylum?
Was The Joker Real Or False?
Well the first big pointer of this to me comes early on in the movie when Arthur is being questioned by his first psychiatrist. She asks about his past at the Asylum and we cut to the character smacking his head against the door to his cell before going back to their therapy session. Personally, I don’t think that this is a flashback at all and that Arthur at this point is actually in the Asylum, imagining he’s a free man and the mere question of Arkham makes him flash out of his delusion for a brief second in which he has to hit his head once more in order to re-enter it.
We see more evidence of this later in the movie when Arthur is once more speaking to his psychiatrist for seemingly the final time and he states that he feels like he never really existed. If the last point is true then this interview is once again at the Asylum and Arthur is admitting that the person he imagines in his head doesn’t really exist and that it’s all just make-believe.
The Thomas Wayne Connection
Later in the film when Arthur is trying to discover whether Thomas Wayne is his father he grabs a file from a clerk played by Bryan Tyree Henry and sprints off down the corridor before stopping in a staircase to read it? But why did no one chase him and how was he able to exit so easily without being stopped? Surely the guards would be on high alert knowing that he’s trying to leave with a confidential document yet we never see this.
To me, this is because he never actually left the Asylum and instead stole the file, read it in the staircase and then was escorted back to his cell.
Arthur also definitely didn’t even meet Thomas Wayne in the film as we see when he is punched in the Bathroom that he stands over the sink and we then cut to him in his apartment, in the exact same position which I think is a clear indicator that he was never at the theatre. What if he was never in his apartment either? Well, we do see him climb into his fridge and then the next scene he’s in his bed to the phone ringing. All of these I think happened in his cell and he’s simply imagining the circumstances are different to add deeper to his fantasy.
The Unreliable Narrator
Arthur admits in the film that he’s stopped taking his pills and it could be that he was prescribed medication in the asylum, he stopped taking them and by either hiding or flushing them and this allows his fantasy to build.
The biggest and final pointer to me is the way that the finale is edited. In the final few moments of the movie, we see Arthur standing on top of a cop car being cheered in the middle of the riot that has brought the city to its knees. We instantly flash to Arthur being questioned almost as if he’s been snapped out of it and for a brief second he flashes back to the fantasy.
Arthur at this point is completely involved in the fantasy due to no longer taking his pills and he snaps and kills his psychiatrist before being chased through the halls of the Asylum like Scooby Doo.
I really think when watching the film under the context that this is an insane inmate who is being interviewed snapping in and out of his fantasy that the film holds a lot of weight and actually makes more sense than Arthur simply being delusional some of the time.
Obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on my theory and if you agree with me or have you own. Make sure you comment below and let me know!