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Arthur Lives In Us All

This film has now become my favourite film of all time. It was beautiful, honest, raw, uncomfortable…everything that mental health is. I have no idea why people found it too much.

I’ve lived with severe mental health, and thought it was the most accurate representation of some of the darkest moments I have experienced. It wasn’t wrapped up with the usual Hollywood ribbons or glitz, that I have come to loathe.

I think if we all were really honest with ourselves, then we would all find a piece of the Arthur in us. Perhaps it’s just too much for some to acknowledge right now. 

Who hasn’t felt at some point in their life that they don’t ‘fit in’? Or felt as if they are completely invisible to the outside world? Haven’t we all hidden our suffering behind a mask or painted on a smile? As humans we naturally need acknowledgement to exist. We need to be seen and heard.
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Of course I’m not condoning the murderous acts he committed, but this is not a film about violence, and to view it through this lens is limiting. In many ways Arthur is one of life’s victims. He can’t engage in the world and stands outside of it, and so is unable to comprehend the rules embedded into our moral compass…he was never shown them.

As I sat watching and listening, I felt myself empathising with him…and no words rang truer than when he said “I just don’t want to feel so bad anymore.” Stuck in a system and on multiple types of medication, he was let down by those he trusted, especially by his mother who was his lifeline.

This is a film about being a human. It’s about man who is misunderstood and is pushed to a limit we find incomprehensible. It’s about the darkness that might break a person and turn them into a monster. It’s about how a man loathed the establishment who walked on by when he needed them most. It’s about those in power who say the right things, but do the complete opposite for the ones at the bottom of the food chain. 

I have no idea how Joaquin Phoenix did this. It was acting on another level I’ve never seen. Thank you to him and Todd Philips for this masterpiece in storytelling and direction. It never needed to hide behind CIG or special effects. It was authentic and timeless.