Is the 2019 movie, Joker suitable for kids? This is a question that has come up a number of times online and it is one that is worth addressing. The Joker is a Batman character and as general rule of thumb, the Batman films are suitable for broad audiences, but is Joker?

If you have children and you are wondering if they can watch Joker, then you need to know a few things about the movie which should help inform your decision. These are as follows:

  • The rating
  • The violence
  • The use of language
  • The subject matter
  • Additional information

In this post I will highlight a few details about Joker which you may wish to know before showing the movie to the young members of the household.

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The rating

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

First and foremost, when considering whether or not a movie is suitable for specific audience members it is always advisable to take a look at the film’s rating. I have written an entire post about the age classifications of the Batman movies – so please feel free to check it out – but in the case of Joker, let’s consider what the British Board of Film Classification has to say.

The BBFC rates every film that is released in the UK, from major motion pictures to direct-to-video titles. For Joker, the BBFC has awarded the movie a certificate 15, which means it is suitable only for people who are 15 years and over.

The film – which is classed by the BBFC as a drama – is noted as containing ‘strong bloody violence’ and ‘language’.

According to the BBFC this film is not a movie intended to be watched by younger audience members.

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The violence

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Joker is a very violent movie. At various points throughout the film, the lead character – played by Joaquin Phoenix – is depicted as unstable and impulsive, with violent tendencies.

There are a number of deaths in the film and these are quite graphic and often shocking when they occur. Each violent scene is proceeded by tense moments, designed to make the audience feel uncomfortable.

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The use of language

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

The film features adult language, which is not suitable for children. Swear words are used throughout the movie and the general tone of the dialogue is hard, with no attempts to soften the content.

The language used is never jovial, it is instead very strait-laced, with discussions of mental health, social issues, abuse, violence and murder throughout.

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The subject matter

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Joker is a comic book movie, but nothing like Spider-Man (2002), Batman Begins (2005), The Avengers (2012) or many of the other comic book films that have been released over the years. The film is not a popcorn blockbuster, but instead a graphic, thought-provoking examination of mental health issues.

Over the course of the two-hour film, the lead character descends into despair which is very hard to watch at times. It has been written and filmed to create a reaction amongst the audience and encourage discussion.

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Additional information

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Although Joker is a Batman movie, Batman does not feature in this film. As such, this is not a traditional Batman feature film and does not include any super hero-related content.

There are no light moments in this film – so do not expect good triumphing over bad. Joker is aimed squarely at adults, as an uncompromising thriller/drama.

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Is Joker suitable for young audiences?

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

If you are considering showing Joker to young audiences it is recommended that you adhere to the movie classification rating. The subject matter alone makes the film unsuitable for younger people, but in truth younger viewers would find little to enjoy in the story.

Joker deals with adult themes and content which older audience members will connect with, but younger viewers would struggle with. I do not want that to sound patronising, but the film was not conceived to play to young audiences and I do not feel that there would be much enjoyment for audiences below the advised age rating.

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