Before he became the Joker, Arthur Fleck was an ambitious stand-up comedian in Gotham. But failure took its toll, and eventually drove him into insanity and a life of anarchy… Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, and Zazie Beetz star in this standalone origin movie of DC Comics’ most notorious villain.
It’s 1981 and failed stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is struggling to find his place in Gotham City. Living with his mother (Frances Conroy), Arthur has nothing going for him. Despite his compulsive quest to make the world laugh, the people of Gotham don’t value Arthur – he is seen as nothing more than a clown.
Disregarded by society and ridiculed for his efforts by talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), the down-and-out comedian is driven mad, plagued by constant despair. Though, his mother always told him that he should, in spite of everything, put on a happy face…
Taken down a dark path of psychotic anarchy in his pursuit for laughter, Arthur turns to crime to satisfy his ever-growing desire for chaos, building a following and even finding something that resembles love (Zazie Beetz). Quickly evolving into a criminal mastermind, he masquerades under a new name and look. Before, he thought his life was a tragedy, but now he realises it’s always been a comedy.
Completely insane, there is nothing of the old Arthur Fleck anymore – all that’s left is Joker.