Joker Has Screened: Early Reactions Say Joaquin Phoenix Deserves Oscar For This 'Masterpiece'

Joker 2019 movie Joaquin Phoenix holds cigarette

Hot damn. If you thought the latest trailer for Joker looked promising, it sounds like the promise is fulfilled in the full movie. Director Todd Phillips' Joker movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix as mentally ill comedian Arthur Fleck/Joker, just premiered at the Venice Film Festival on August 31. Early reactions are in from the screening, and it sounds like viewers were completely blown away.

Let's start with CinemaBlend's own Eric Eisenberg, who tweeted a blurb from his fascinating Joker review while linking to the full piece:

See more

I also love this reaction from film student/critic Awais Irfan:

See more

I'm totally sold after that, but there's more. "Disturbing" comes up a lot, including here from the International Film Critique, which continued with a full thread of reactions if you want more.

See more

Alex Billington of First Showing said he too was surprised -- in a good way -- that the DC movie even exists:

See more

Joaquin Phoenix transformed himself for the role, and many are already pointing to him for an Oscar nomination.

Here's some early Oscar love from director/cinematographer Olivier Sarbil:

See more

Heath Ledger set a high bar, but maybe he won't be the only one to walk away with a trophy as DC's Clown Prince of Crime? Filmmaker James Jones also called the movie a "masterpiece":

See more

There are more early reactions out there -- and CinemaBlend has a full review up right now -- but that should give you some idea.

Joker is a DC movie, but it's not connected to the DCEU. The movie is set in 1981, following the criminal descent of failed stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck. Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, and Marc Maron co-star.

Joker Star Marc Maron Blasts Outraged Marvel Fans After Superhero Movie Backlash

From Venice, Joker next plays at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9. The Rest Of Us get to see it when it opens in theaters here on October 4. I'm thinking, with all of this effusive praise and hype, Joker may have a better opening weekend than previously expected. Keep up with everything heading to the big screen this year with our 2019 movie release date schedule.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.