“Joker” is being talked about for the wrong reasons in media. Some of the news about the movie says it will inspire violence, or that it encourages sympathy for a murderer. I don’t believe these are the appropriate conversations for us to be having about “Joker” in 2019.

David Ehrlich writes for Indie Wire and says the film is “a toxic rallying cry for self-pitying incels.”

“Joker” pays homage to other films before it. Joker brings new ideas to film discussions. The film is more art than entertainment, and this means conscientious viewing, not mind-less consumption.

Joaquin Phoenix gave an intoxicating performance; he has many scenes where he is the only actor on screen, which can be very challenging because all attention is on one person’s actions.

The film’s soundtrack gives viewers an eerie feeling and makes you uncomfortable in the best way. The sound design is great as well. Haunting sounds punctuate intense scenes that echo long after the film is over.

“Joker” depicts violence not as inspiring but as having immense cost. The film shows violence in a way that leaves viewers conflicted because the spectator doesn’t want this path to be taken but understands why these choices could have been made.

The movie depicts evil, but the movie also depicts the complexity of real life, complete with conflicted emotions and unanswered questions. Is it right to laugh at that? What effect do I have on the people around me?

I felt uncomfortable about this movie after watching it and didn’t want to rush back and see it, but the next day gave me time to appreciate what the movie did. I talked to people about it and had great thought-provoking conversations. After having these dialogues with people, I wanted to go back for a second viewing and see what I missed.

This movie is interesting; each viewing gives a different meaning. Art is in the eye of the beholder. The Joker is still as open-ended as a multiple-choice origin story.