Joker was the U.K.’s most complained about film of 2019

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

It looks like the people of the U.K. were not here for Todd Phillips' 2019 film, JOKER. The film was a bit polarizing in the States but it still proved to be a box office success and earned Joaquin Phoenix his first Academy Award for Best Actor. JOKER was a more intimate look at the comic book origin film as it traded in spectacle for psychological thrills but this realism may be what turned some in the U.K. off.

According to a new report published by the British Board of Film Classification, the board received 20 complaints about JOKER regarding the film's content. While some of the complaints wanted to have the movie banned altogether, others believed JOKER was violent enough to warrant an '18 ages and above' rating. The board had this to say about not slapping it with the '18 ages and above' rating:

"There are scenes of strong violence in the film that include stabbings and shootings, with accompanying bloody injury detail. They do not, however, dwell on the infliction of pain or injury in a manner that requires an 18."

The issue of violence in JOKER. was a hot-button issue and it seemed to divide some critics with some praising the realism while others found it too crude and jarring. Director Todd Phillips had spoken previously about creating a new kind of comic book movie that shows realistic consequences of violence:

"Isn't it a good thing to put real-world implications on violence? Isn't that a good thing to take away the cartoon element of violence that we've become so immune to? So I was a little surprised when it turns into that direction, that it seems irresponsible because to me it seems actually very responsible to make it feel real and make it that weight."

Aside from JOKER, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL and SHAZAM were also last year's Hollywood films that received several complaints in the U.K. Most of the concern were that the films were not rated appropriately in relation to the amounts of violence and adult themes that they contained. It's interesting to see what films get their fair share of criticism overseas compared to the almost zero response in the States. I don't recall anyone complaining about these films here but clearly viewing sensibilities are a bit different.

Source: British Board of Film Classification

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