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Joker | 2019 | R | – 5.7.7

content-ratingsWhy is “Joker” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a couple of kissing scenes, full female nudity in pictures, several scenes of a shirtless man and a man bathing his infirmed mother; several violent murders using a gun and scissors with blood spraying and shown on the victims, a couple of scenes of beatings with people crowding the victim and kicking and punching them, a scene of a psychiatric hospital with a patient in restraints, scenes of angry protests and riots in a city’s streets, and discussions of mental illness; and at least 25 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”


A man (Joaquin Phoenix) aspiring to a career as a stand-up comedian while working as a clown for rent, sees his world crumble when secrets of his past are unearthed. After being bullied and attacked, he assumes the persona of the Joker and wreaks havoc in Gotham. Also with Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Frances Conroy and Brett Cullen. Directed by Todd Phillips. [Running Time: 2:01]

Joker SEX/NUDITY 5

 – Pictures of nude women are seen briefly in a man’s journal as he flips the pages (we see bare breasts, pubic areas, abdomens and legs). A shirtless man is shown from the back and we see his bare shoulders and back (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A man is shown shirtless in several scenes and we see his bare back, shoulders, chest and abdomen. A man is shown wearing a shirt and jockey shorts (we see his bare legs). A man uses a urinal in a public bathroom (we see no flesh and hear the sound of flushing).
 A man knocks on the apartment door of a woman and when she opens the door, he kisses her and they embrace as she closes the door behind him. A man kisses a woman that he just met on a live TV show and she seems shocked. A woman rubs a man’s back to console him and kisses him on the forehead.
 A man is shown bathing his infirmed mother in a tub and we see the woman’s bare shoulders and cleavage.
 A man tells a joke in a comedy club about pretending to be a professor and that a student propositioned him for a good grade. A movie theater marquee advertises “Zorro the Gay Blade.”


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Joker VIOLENCE/GORE 7

 – A man slashes another man’s throat using a pair of scissors and then stabs him in the eye (blood sprays and splatters); the attacker slams the man’s head against a wall repeatedly and he is sprayed with blood as another man watches and whimpers in fear and the man that was watching is told to leave and the attacker lunges at him, startling him but he lets him go. A man shoots another man in the head and blood sprays back onto a wall behind the victim (we also see blood on the wound), people scream and run and the shooter shoots the man again in the chest. A man follows a man, a woman and a young boy into a dark alley where he shoots the man in the chest (he falls dead) and then shoots the woman and pulls off her string of pearls (the young boy’s face is splattered with blood).
 A man on a train offers a woman French fries and when she declines the man throws fries at her, another man teases the woman and another man (dressed like a clown) on the train laughs uncontrollably; three men approach the man that is laughing and call him names, one man takes his clown wig, one man takes his bag, punches him in the face, he falls on the floor and is kicked repeatedly by the three men until he pulls out a handgun and shoots one man in the chest (we see blood on the wounds), another man in the head (blood sprays) and the third man in the leg (blood pours from the wound); the shooter follows the wounded man out of the train and shoots him two more times until he is dead. A man holds a pillow over a woman’s face and she struggles until the monitors she is attached to go silent. A man walks through a hallway leaving bloody shoeprints on the floor implying that he killed someone (we do not see the act or the victim).
 Several teenagers and young men mock a man dressed as a clown on a sidewalk and knock a sign out of his hands; the teens take the sign and run away chased by the man, they run across a busy street, and into an alley where the man is struck in the head with the stolen sign and kicked repeatedly by the teens. A police officer on a train draws a gun and a crowd of people gather around him, one man holds the officer’s arm and the gun discharges shooting the man, who falls and many other people surround the officer and push him to the ground and we hear punches and kicks landing as the scene ends. A man is chased by police and runs through a busy street where he is struck by a car, slams into the windshield and rolls down the hood and onto the road (he seems uninjured); he then hides among many people wearing clown masks on a train.
 A man entices a boy to talk to him by putting on a clown nose and performing a magic trick, the boy moves close to a gate where the man stands and reaches through to touch the boy and uses his fingers to stretch the boy’s mouth to an unnatural smile until another man tells him to leave; the first man reaches through the gate and grabs the second man around the throat and they struggle briefly. A man stands near another man in a public bathroom, they speak briefly, one man yells at the other and one man punches the other in the nose (we see blood on his face).
 A police car is struck from the side by an ambulance and the passenger in the car is taken out and placed on the hood of the car where people chant for him to get up (we see blood on his head and face and the driver of the car appears dead with blood on his head and face). A woman is startled when she finds a man in her apartment and asks him to leave. We see pictures of a young boy with bruises on his face and a woman with bruises on her face; we hear that the woman’s boyfriend beat them both.
 We see rioting and looting in streets with fires burning and cars are overturned. Many people protests in the streets with yelling, and sings that read, “Kill the rich”; they are held back by police and a fight breaks out when a protestor head-butts a police officer that crosses a barricade. Two men struggle over a medical file, one man slams his head against a grate causing the other man to let the file go, and the other man runs away.
 A man holds a gun and cocks it, he points it and pretends to shoot it, pulls the trigger and it discharges creating a hole in the wall; he falls on the floor when he is startled by the blast. A man practices performing a joke using a gun as a prop and holds the gun under his chin, pretends to fire and drops his head back as if he is dead. A man gives another man a handgun to defend himself after the second man was attacked and beaten on the street. A man dressed as a clown dances in a hospital ward for sick children; as he kicks his leg in the air a handgun falls on the floor and he quickly picks it up.
 A man slams his head against a phone booth and cracks the glass. We hear that a man was in a mental institution and we see him in a cell as he slams his head against a window in the door repeatedly (we do not see the result). A man kicks piles of garbage in an alley repeatedly and falls to the ground. A man punches a timeclock until it falls off the wall and onto the floor. A man with blood smears on his face runs away from a train station, through city streets and hides in a public bathroom where he dances in front of a mirror. A woman locks herself in the bathroom when her adult son yells at her and pounds on a door. A man slams into an automatic glass door that does not open. A man empties a refrigerator, climbs inside and closes the door. A man laughs uncontrollably alone in his apartment and a neighbor pounds on the wall. A man draws a large upward smile on his face with the blood from his mouth.
 A man on a live TV show says that he killed three men. A man fires another man over the phone. A man accuses another man of stealing a sign from his work and tells him that he will take the price of the sign out of his pay. A man on a bus makes faces at a young boy in the seat in front of him, making the boy laugh and the boy’s mother tells the man to stop bothering her son. A woman makes the shape of a gun with her hand, places her fingers to her temple and pretends to pull the trigger; a man later does the same thing. A man tells a joke about a boy being struck by a car and that he is dead. A man makes a few derogatory jokes about another man being a little person. A man makes a joke and says, “They don’t hire Jews.” We see several newspaper headlines about a clown vigilante. A man tells another man that a woman is delusional. A man says that a woman was taken to a psychiatric hospital. We hear a man talking about a woman being a danger to her own child and that a boy was found tied to a radiator and malnourished. We hear a news report of two police officers being injured in an attack on a train.
 A woman is loaded into an ambulance and we see her in the hospital with an oxygen tube and an IV (we hear that she had an attack and that she was hyperventilating and fell back hitting her head on a piece of furniture). A man strapped to a stretcher is shown in an elevator and he thrashes violently (his feet are discolored). A shirtless man is shown from the back and we see his bare shoulders and back with his ribs pressing against the flesh and a large bruise (from a beating) at this shoulder blade.
 A man laughs uncontrollably in several scenes — and so deeply that he gasps for breath; he has a card that indicates that he has a condition that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times. A man uses his fingers to stretch the skin at his mouth edges to create an unnaturally large upward smile while looking in a mirror. A man hears a high-pitched whistle in his ears after shooting a handgun.
 A woman asks a man if he followed her to her work at a bank and she says, “I was hoping you’d come in and rob the place.” A social worker tells a man that the state government has cut funding for their office and that they will no longer be able to help him. A man asks for an increase in the dose of his medication and says, “I don’t want to feel so bad anymore.” A man says that he stopped taking his medication and feels much better. A man tells another man that there is no cursing or off-color material on his TV show. People discuss the occurrences of rats among garbage on streets and talk about “super rats.”
 We hear there is a garbage strike in a large city and see garbage lining alleys and streets; there are discussions of disease that may occur if the strike continues. A man puts on face paint and paints his tongue. A man follows a woman dropping off her daughter at school, walking through streets, getting on a train and going to work at a bank.


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Joker LANGUAGE 7

 – About 25 F-words (4 of which are bleeped on a TV broadcast and a couple of which are spelled out on placards), 3 obscene hand gestures, 8 scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (crazy, savages, animals, awful, freak, miniature, weird, liar, coward, delusional, evil, trash, envious, not-so-bright), exclamations (shut-up), 3 religious exclamations (For God’s Sake, Jesus, Oh My God). | profanity glossary |


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Joker SUBSTANCE USE

 – A social worker tells a man that the state government has cut funding for their office and that they will no longer be able to help him, including getting him his prescription medication, a man says that he stopped taking his medication, and a woman says that a man is on 7 medications when he asks his social worker to increase his dose. People are shown drinking and smoking cigarettes in a comedy club, and a man holds a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag (no one drinks). A man smokes cigarettes in many scenes throughout the movie and we see his fingers stained from tar in one close-up scene, a man smokes a cigarette outside an ER, a man smokes a cigarette in a hospital room where oxygen is being administered, and ashtrays filled with cigarette butts are seen in a few scenes.


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Joker DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Mental illness, class distinctions, abandonment, adoption, child welfare, child abuse, sacrifice, heroes, narcissistic personality disorder, secrets, truth.

Joker MESSAGE

 – Mental illness and desperation can lead to bizarre acts.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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