Joker named most complained-about film of 2019 by BBFC

Criticisms focused on the film’s violence and dark tone

Louis Chilton
Monday 20 July 2020 09:00
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Joaquin Phoenix thanks Heath Ledger after winning for Joker

The British Board of Film Classification has named Joker the most complained-about film of 2019.

Todd Phillips’ violent and divisive supervillain adaptation saw Joaquin Phoenix play the notorious Batman character, later winning an Academy Award for his efforts.

The BBFC are responsible for deciding the age rating for films and TV series across Great Britain. In its annual report, the organisation said that it had received 20 complaints about Joker’s age classification, which was a “15”.

Some of the complaints suggested that the film should have instead been classified as an “18”, while others argued that it should have been banned altogether.

Joker traces the rise of Arthur Fleck from dysfunctional outsider to murderous martyr.

While some critics praised the acting and dark tone of the film, others condemned its portrayal of mental illness and questionably populist political themes.

The BBFC stated that while the film does contains scenes of substantial violence, it doesn’t “dwell on the infliction of pain or injury in a manner that requires an 18”.

Joker was nominated for 11 Oscars at the 2020 Academy Awards, including for Best Actor (which Phoenix won), Best Picture and Best Director.

The ratings board revealed that they received a total of 149 complaints last year, less than half of 2018’s total.

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