The BFI film festival may have come to an end, but there is one film that still has everyone talking: a gritty character study about the events that lead Arthur Fleck to become the comic book villain, the Joker. Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover), Joker has already picked up a prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice film festival and many have predicted it will win more; but its dark narrative and provocative themes have not been well received by all. 

Since its mainstream release on the 4th of October, thousands of people have taken to Twitter to share their opinion, with the number of mentions in one day across the UK reaching 23,484. At MTM, we’ve done some social media analysis to explore the Twitter conversation around this controversial film. 

Twitter mentions of Joker

So what all these tweeters tweeting about? Joker has been particularly polarising with an even number negative and positive tweets posted about it over the past two weeks. Many have praised the film for its performances and sympathetic depiction of a marginalised man whose society has failed him, while others have dubbed it ‘the most disappointing film of the year’, criticizing Phillip’s for stealing ‘whole chunks’ from Scorsese films such as Taxi Driver. 

Twitter mentions of negative / positive sentiment

The film explores some important and all too familiar topics. Arthur is a man struggling within an unforgiving society, where cuts to mental health services prevent him from getting the help he needs. These sensitive themes have sparked debate among tweeters, the most common ones shown in the word chart below. 

Key words from tweets about Joker

Whether good or bad, it seems that everyone has an opinion to share about this film. After being initially well received, Joker was met with a moral backlash as critics berated it for its portrayal of mental illness and argued that the violence in the narrative was irresponsible and could encourage similar behaviour in real life. Both Phillips’ and Joaquin defended their creation, as did many others, resulting in a further backlash-against-the-backlash reflected in the chart below.

Tweets about Joker by sentiment

One thing that most could agree on however, was that as expected, Joaquin delivered an impressive performance, described as ‘mesmerising’; he managed to bring a depth, nuance and novelty to a well-known andmuch played character. Again, this was reflected by tweeters whose conversation around the actor after the release of the film has been widely positive.

Tweets about Joaquin Phoenix by sentiment

A brief look at the hashtags connected to tweets about Joaquin reveals that animals rights are a subject close to his heart, alongside those about Joker, 4 of the top 10 most commonly used hashtags referred to animal rights. Vegan since the age of 3, he often takes part in animal rights activism, including a BeFairToVegan protest that he joined during his visit to the Toronto International Film Festival whilst there to attend a Joker screening.

Hashtags associated with Joaquin Phoenix

And finally, to round up this week’s mailer, we will leave you with a collection of the most commonly used emojis featured in tweets about our favourite vegan.


Most commonly used emojis in tweets about Joaquin
Source of charts: Meltwater

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If you’re interested in finding out what social media analysis could add to your insight about your consumers or content, then do get in touch!