Why did the Joker kill his mother

Joker (2019)



Stand up comedian

Party clown (both formerly)
Social anarchist

Skills / weapons


Write and tell jokes.

Kill people.
To dance.


Killing Murray Franklin.

Take revenge on society.
Make people laugh.

Kind of villain

"My mother always said I should smile and put on a grin ..."

“How about another joke, Murray? What do you get when you cross a mentally confused loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like dirt? I'll tell you what you get: You get what you damn deserve! "

- Arthur, just before he shoots Murray

"Absolutely everyone is just terrible these days, you can't help but get crazy!"

Arthur Fleck, later than joker known, is the titular protagonist and central villain from the 2019 film jokerdepicting his mental decline and transformation into the DC Rogue Joker.

Fleck is a mentally ill stand-up comedian who has failed in life and who has had enough after one of the many humiliations in his life and strikes back against the system and the people who are not interested in him or who harm him. In this way, he gains a certain sense of self-worth, but also quickly crosses the line of moral values ​​and becomes a completely insane killer.

He was portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, who won an Oscar for leading male actor in 2020 for his portrayal of the character.



As a child, Fleck was adopted by Penny Fleck, who worked in the household of the wealthy Wayne family in Gotham. Penny believed she was having a relationship with Thomas Wayne and that Arthur was Wayne's son, was eventually fired because of her delusions and allegations.

Her closest friend physically abused both Penny and Arthur, and since Penny insisted on her son that he should always be happy, Arthur developed a mental disorder that forced him to laugh out loud at the most inopportune situations - even if it wasn't his feelings or his Reflected emotions in the respective situation. When Arthur was found chained to a refrigerator in Penny's utterly neglected apartment one day, he was taken away from the family and Penny was admitted to the mental health department of Arkham Hospital.

Setbacks in life

In 1981 Arthur, who was recently released from a mental institution himself, is living again with his mother as a grown man. He has so repressed the abuse from his childhood that he no longer remembers it; instead, he takes care of his old mother, who often sends letters to Thomas Wayne, but never receives an answer. Quite a shy and odd person, Fleck is ridiculed and shunned by most of the people for his uncomfortable demeanor. Due to his psychological problems and severe depression, Arthur visits a social worker, through whom he receives various medications. However, he does not feel understood by the woman and believes that she is simply not interested in him as a person. Professionally Arthur works as a party clown. One day, while advertising on the city streets, he is mocked by some teenagers who steal his advertising sign. While pursuing the youngsters, Arthur is knocked down and kicked several times while lying on the ground.

When he returns to work the next day, he is admonished by his boss, who deducts the stolen advertising sign from his wages and does not believe his story. Although Arthur is prohibited from owning a gun, an employee, Randall, gives him a revolver and some cartridges so that he can defend himself in such a situation. This proves to be a problem when Arthur, who from now on always carries this weapon with him, accidentally drops it while performing as a clown in the children's ward of a hospital and is then fired after his boss learns about it and Randall claims that Arthur was pushing him has to hand him the gun. Furthermore, Arthur's social worker has the funds canceled so that she can no longer treat him and he no longer receives any medication. All of this causes Arthur to sink into a spiral of depression, bitterness and self-loathing.

When he wants to return home after his release, Arthur finds himself in an almost empty subway in the evening, in which three drunken suit wearers sit. They begin to mock Arthur, disguised as a clown, and approach him threateningly when he unintentionally starts to laugh out loud because of his mental health problems. The drunks, feeling provoked, knock Arthur down and kick him, but Arthur manages to pull his pistol and shoot two of the men. The third man who was shot by Arthur escapes in despair and falls from the subway at the next station, but Arthur follows him and shoots him in cold blood on the stairs. After committing these murders, Arthur storms off and runs down a few streets into a public toilet, where he suddenly begins to dance calmly and - for the first time in a long time - with inner peace.

Mental decline

The murders are quickly publicized and since the three men were employees of Thomas Wayne, there is a surprisingly large number of people who sympathize with the clown killer and see him as an expression of protest against the upper class - from now on they protest under clown masks. Arthur, who has gained a certain self-confidence since his murders, has since then also had delusions - so he believes that his neighbor Sophie, with whom he is in love, has started a relationship with him and they are happily in love. In reality, however, they have no contact and he only imagines Sophie. One evening Arthur opens a letter from his mother to Thomas Wayne at home and learns from it that he is supposed to be Wayne's son. Shocked, he argues with his mother, who finally reveals her view of things to him. The next day Arthur drives to the Wayne family estate, where he meets young Bruce Wayne at the gate, whom he does some magic tricks.

However, the Wayne's butler, Alfred Pennyworth, appears at the gate and drives Arthur out, to whom he reveals the truth about his mother's state of mind. Hateful and incredulous, Arthur grabs Alfred by the neck through the gate and begins to choke him, but then lets go of him because Bruce is present. Back home, Arthur is shocked to find out that his mother has suffered a stroke and accompanies her to the hospital. There two policemen contact him who are investigating the murders of the clown and want to talk to Arthur because of his employer. However, he disgusts them. At his mother's hospital bed, he also has to watch on television how his idol, the late show host Murray Franklin, mocks a stand-up performance of Arthur and describes him contemptuously as a "joker".

The protests of the clowns in Gotham meanwhile continue to spread. Arthur uses the protests to gain entry to a gala event and confront Thomas Wayne, to whom he reveals himself to be his son. Wayne disdains this, however, reveals the whole story between himself and Penny and hits Arthur hatefully in the face when he inadvertently starts laughing out loud again. After Wayne's revelation, Arthur goes to Arkham, where he steals his mother's files and learns from it that he was badly mistreated by her and that she is therefore also responsible for his mental state. Disappointed and angry, he therefore visits his weak mother in the hospital and suffocates her with a pillow. He then returns home and enters Sophie's apartment, but she is scared and shocked and asks him to leave. Only now does Arthur realize that his apparent relationship with Sophie was nothing but a pipe dream.

Murray Franklin Show

Back home, Arthur is contacted by Murray Franklin's secretary, who invites him to join the show, as the editorial team has received tons of positive feedback after playing Arthur's clips. Arthur agrees and decides to hold up the mirror to society because they treat people like him like dirt. So he decides to shoot himself during the live show and rehearses it several times in his apartment. On the day of the show, Arthur is unexpectedly visited by his ex-colleagues Randall and Gary, who want to condole him on the death of his mother. During the conversation, Arthur Randall suddenly rams a pair of scissors in the eye and neck and kills him, who has always despised and mocked him by brutally banging his head against the door frame several times. He spared the scared Gary, however, because he was the only person who was nice to him.

In a new outfit - dyed green hair, a red suit and a make-up clown face - Arthur now makes his way to the show, but is intercepted by the two police officers. Arthur runs away and takes refuge at the train station on a train in which various clown Protestants are sitting. Arthur goes into hiding in the crowd and while trying to follow him, one of the policemen accidentally shoots a protester, causing both policemen to be knocked down and beaten by the crowd. Arthur takes this opportunity to escape and successfully enter the studio. While he is sitting in his cloakroom, he is visited by Murray and his assistant and after a short small talk asks Murray to introduce him as the Joker during the show, as it was Murray who once gave him this name.

Finally the time has come and Joker is invited onto the stage to thunderous applause. He is greeted by Murray and the other guests and talks to them for a few minutes before being asked to come up with a joke and tell a rather tasteless joke. He then also confesses to have murdered the three suit wearers and Murray does not know how to react, as he is not sure whether Joker is serious. However, Joker continues to speak of it, ranting to himself that no one would have cared if someone like him had been killed. He berates the society where people like him are ignored and despised and claims that people like the three deserve to be killed. He coldly addresses that Murray is one of these people too, since he only invited him to expose and mock him, and shoots Murray in front of the camera. As the panicked audience flee, Arthur begins to dance again as if in a trance.


While Arthur was still in the studio, he was arrested and driven away in a patrol car. In the meantime, however, the protests in Gotham have turned into violent riots, to which Thomas and his wife Martha Wayne also fall victim in an alley. The patrol car in which Joker is being transported is hit by another car and the masked Protestants recognize Arthur and pull him out of the car. After he has come to and sees himself surrounded by the masked clowns, Arthur climbs on the hood of the car and is cheered by the enthusiastic clowns when he begins to dance again.

Some time later, Arthur is an inmate in Arkham and is interrogated by a psychiatrist. When Arthur laughs - for the first time of his own volition - the woman asks why, but Arthur replies that she won't understand the joke. Shortly afterwards Arthur shuffles through the halls of Arkham in bloody shoes and is followed by some guards.



  • This version of Joker is after Jack Nicholson's 1989 version, the second real-life version of the Joker that has a name and a backstory.
  • Cast Joaquin Phoenix is ​​the second actor after Heath Ledger to win an Oscar for portraying The Joker. Ledger won it posthumously for his portrayal in The Dark Knight.