‘Joker’ director on the film’s ambiguous ending: “There are a lot of ways you could look at this movie”

Spoiler alert

Todd Phillips, director of Joker, has discussed the intention behind the movie’s ambiguous ending.

The titular character, played by Joaquin Phoenix, ends the movie by saying, “You wouldn’t get it”, while Phillips has described his final laugh in the film as his only genuine one.

The film’s ambiguous ending has given rise to much debate and theorising amongst fans, but Phillips so far is refusing to clarify what the ending means.


“Me and Scott [Silver, co-writer] and Joaquin, we never talked about what he has,” the director told the LA Times, referencing the Joker’s mental health. “I never wanted to say, ‘He’s a narcissist and this and that.’

“I didn’t want Joaquin as an actor to start researching that kind of thing,” he continued. “We just said, ‘He’s off.’ I don’t even know that he’s mentally ill. He’s just kind of left-footed with the world.”

Phillips added that there are “a lot of ways you could look at this movie”, including it being one of many multiple-choice stories. “I don’t want to say what it is,” he said. “But a lot of people I’ve shown it to have said, ‘Oh, I get it – he’s just made up a story. The whole movie is the joke. It’s this thing this guy in Arkham Asylum concocted. He might not even be the Joker.’”

Joker made history last week by pulling in an estimated $93.5 million (£76.4m) in its first weekend – the biggest October domestic US release of all time.


In a five-star review, NME described Joker as “an instant classic that sees Joaquin Phoenix translate a discombobulating sensation from the screen to your senses, while director Todd Phillips creates a melancholic psychodrama punctuated by splashes of shocking violence.”