Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Movie Will Be Rated R

by : Lucy Connolly on : 20 Jun 2019 13:16
JokerJokerWarner Bros.

Batman fans waiting eagerly for the new Joker movie can now add one more thing to their list of ‘things to be excited about’.


That being its film rating, which director Todd Phillips recently confirmed would be rated R, making it the first R-rated live-action Batman film.

Phillips revealed the news on social media this weekend, alongside a never-before-seen picture of Joaquin Phoenix painting his face white while staring solemnly into a mirror.

The director didn’t appear to be giving much away initially, captioning the black and white image: ‘Finishing touches’.


However, when a fan wrote, ‘MPAA rating?’, Phillips responded:

It will be Rated R. I’ve been asked this a lot. Just assumed people knew. Sorry.

R, which stands for ‘Restricted,’ is the Motion Picture Association of America’s second highest rating for movies, NME reports. If a movie is rated R, viewers under the age of 17 won’t be able to watch it without a parent or guardian present. This usually translates to 15 in the UK.

It’s easy to see why it’s got such a rating when you see the trailer:

Although this isn’t great news for the younger DC fans out there, Phillips’ statement does confirm what most of us had been hoping – that the film is likely to be extremely dark and twisted.

The upcoming film is intended to be the first in a series of DC-based movies that are separate from the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). A stand-alone Warner Bros. movie, Joker provides an origin story for a villain who – up until now – has not been given an origin.

It tells the story of the Joker – aka Arthur Fleck, aka Phoenix – as a failed stand-up comedian in the early 1980s, who gets seduced into Gotham’s criminal underworld.


Starring Robert De Niro as talk show host Murray Franklin, who plays a part in driving Arthur toward a life of crime, the film also stars Zazie Beetz (Deadpool) and stand-up comedian Marc Maron.

Footage of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker.Footage of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker.Warner Bros.

Maron recently told NME a bit more about what we can expect from the film, saying although he hadn’t always been too keen on films being made from comicbooks, this one is ‘not that kind of movie’.

He explained:

I think it’s a very interesting approach to this world. I’ve been somewhat judgemental when it comes to comic book movies and I’ve got a little push-back in the press for being a hypocrite.

Whatever I think, if you get a call and someone says, ‘Hey do you wanna do a scene with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix?’ your principals fall to the wayside. If it’s relative to what I think of Marvel movies then it’s like, ‘Yeah, of course I’m gonna do that’. Oddly, it’s not that kind of movie.

The comedian/actor went on to describe the film as ‘intimate and gritty,’ with a ‘very specific scope’. He added that Joker is more of an ‘origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker’.

The only other film in the DC Extended Universe franchise to receive an R rating was Batman: The Killing Joke, an animated movie released in 2016.

I don’t know about you guys but I personally can’t wait. Unfortunately we have to, because the film won’t be released for another four months.

Joker is due for release on October 4.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Film and TV, Batman, Film, Instagram, Joker, Marc Maron, Social Media, Todd Phillips


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