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Success Of “Joker” Shows That Deeply Personal Stories Focusing On Real Issues Such As Mental Health Resonate With Audiences Everywhere

By David Saunders | UPDATED: 08:28, 10 January 2020

As we head towards the tail-end of the awards season, with the BAFTAs and Oscars on the horizon, “Joker” has proved to be one of the most successful films released in 2019, having won 2 awards at the Golden Globes and securing 11 BAFTA nominations.

But why is “Joker”, a film focusing on the psychological state of one character and his descent into chaos as he is left on the fringes of society, proving so successful in an era of superhero epics and CGI spectacles?

Gerard Barnes, CEO of mental health treatment specialists Smart TMS, believes that films that focus on deeply personal stories and examine current issues, especially mental health, have the power to captivate audiences and can play a huge role in increasing awareness and removing stigma.

“In recent times, the majority of mainstream cinema has been dominated by big CGI productions and superheroes, but “Joker”, whilst being a total departure from your traditional comic-book inspired film, has become the most successful comic-book film of all time.

This is due in no small part to the fact that the main character, Arthur Fleck, is shown to be every bit as raw, insecure and every bit as imperfect as humans truly are in reality, meaning that it is very easy for viewers to sympathise, and indeed even empathise, with his struggles.

While audiences enjoy seeing all-powerful superheroes save the day, it’s refreshing and uniquely captivating to see a character who struggles with mental health concerns and social situations. I believe cinema has incredible potential to raise awareness around key societal issues such as mental health, and I hope to see a slew of films over the coming years which help to further improve our awareness and attitude towards mental health and other issues of major importance.

It is then up to companies like Smart TMS and the NHS to provide innovative and effective treatments to ensure that people who suffer from mental health problems can seek help and treatment everywhere across the country.”

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