Psychological Disorders in the Movie “Joker” (2019)

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Joker is one of the most controversial characters in comic books and films about Batman. In the movie Joker (2019), Joaquin Phoenix’s personage Arthur Fleck (Joker) is about 32-33 years old although the actor’s actual age is 44. This fact makes the character look older, reflecting his health problems in the movie. The film does not provide any data about Joker family’s history. However, his mother Penny says that Arthur Fleck’s father was Thomas Wayne, Batman’s father (Phillips et al., 2019). The character and his mother live together in Gotham City. In the movie, Joker’s mother is shown as a delusional woman, and her son seems to have similar delusional problems. Although Joker is never diagnosed with any specific psychological disorder in the film, his symptoms indicate that he has delusional disorder, bipolar disorder, and pseudobulbar affect.

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The main symptoms of psychological disorder in Joker’s character are uncontrollable laughing, hallucinations, delusional ideas, crying, and being sad and happy simultaneously. For example, he says, “I am an undiscovered comedic genius,” thus being convinced that he is a comedian while he is not (Phillips et al., 2019). This example demonstrates that Joker has a delusional disorder, which is characterized by the persistence of delusional ideas and beliefs that are present independently of any other psychotic disorders (Gonzalez-Rodriguez et al., 2020). Uncontainable incidents of laugh and crying are the symptoms of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) (Foley et al., 2016). Moreover, in some scenes, Joker is crying and laughing simultaneously, which is a sign of bipolar disorder (Phillips et al., 2019). According to Bhargava (2020), people with bipolar disorder can feel overly happy and then very sad, and in between these moments, they feel normal. Joker demonstrates all these symptoms, which means that he has multiple psychological disorders.

To get help, Joker should receive medical treatment that will help him stabilize his mood and improve his mental condition. The use of mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, and sedatives will help decrease the symptoms. Moreover, psychotherapy should be also recommended to this person. In conclusion, Joker’s character demonstrates multiple symptoms of psychological disorders, which means that he should receive treatment to be able to act normally again.


Bhargava, H. D. (2020). Bipolar disorder. WebMD. Web.

Foley, K., Konetzka, R. T., Bunin, A., & Yonan, C. (2016). Prevalence of pseudobulbar affect symptoms and clinical correlates in nursing home residents. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 31(7), 694-701. Web.

Gonzalez-Rodriguez, A., Guardia, A., Palao, D. J., Labad, J., & Seeman, M. V. (2020). Moderators and mediators of antipsychotic response in delusional disorder: Further steps are needed. World Journal of Psychiatry, 10(4), 34-45. Web.

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Phillips, T., Cooper, B., Koskoff, E. T. (Producers), & Phillips, T. (Director). (2019). Joker [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Bros. Pictures.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, September 15). Psychological Disorders in the Movie “Joker” (2019). Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, September 15). Psychological Disorders in the Movie “Joker” (2019).

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"Psychological Disorders in the Movie “Joker” (2019)." PsychologyWriting, 15 Sept. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Psychological Disorders in the Movie “Joker” (2019)'. 15 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Psychological Disorders in the Movie “Joker” (2019)." September 15, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Psychological Disorders in the Movie “Joker” (2019)." September 15, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Psychological Disorders in the Movie “Joker” (2019)." September 15, 2022.