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Joaquin Phoenix’s Childhood May Have Contributed to His Performance in ‘Joker’

Life imitating art may have gone a long way here to create this ‘Joker’ we saw on screen.

AntMan3001. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Look +Set Photos Officially. September 23, 2018. Retrieved via

When it was announced there was going to be another Joker movie, I have to say I was concerned. Thinking back to what happened the last time a Joker movie came out, the Colorado theater shooting, I worry for people going to see this and any other movies out now. Though many have told me this movie is more about the Joker’s life and why he is the way he is, I still have my reservations and will be waiting until its out of theaters to go see any movies. Joaquin Phoenix has been one of those actors who is mysterious in a creepy way, on and off screen. It turns out, there may be a reason for that and it hits very close to home for him.

According to Ghast Lee (, Phoenix’s childhood was anything but normal and may have helped him slip into the depths of the Joker’s psyche. His parents were “members of a cult called ‘Children of God’ where brainwashed adults had sex with kids, and where women used sex to bring in new male members” ( 1). This cult also “viewed sex in general as the best way to praise Jesus and members were ordered to share their husbands and wives with each other” ( 1). Its amazing that Phoenix isn’t more screwed up and that he is still alive, unlike his brother River, who died in 1993 ( 1).

AntMan3001. Joaquin Phoenix’ Joker Movie Gets a Title and Release Date! July 18, 2018. Retrieved via

Getting Out In Time

Fortunately for Phoenix, his parents “quit the cult, got on a ship from Venezuela to America and changed their surname from ‘Bottom’ to ‘Phoenix'” ( 2). He got out before too much of that life could take hold but regardless, that had to be traumatising. Good for his parents to leave that toxic environment but I wonder how long all of those “rituals” took to get out of their heads to stop being practiced. Many are calling Phoenix’s performance as Oscar-worthy so we will see if that happens. Regardless, that lifestyle had to leave him plenty damaged and having parental issues. So did the Joker though as well. He probably dipped into some of this twisted and toxic upbringing to really shine in the role. But that could not have been easy to face and remember as he was in character. Perhaps this helped to let go of some of those demons.

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Hi! I'm Amber. Cars, food, TV, books, and writing are all things I enjoy. Put me on a beach somewhere and I'll be the happiest version of myself. Thanks for reading my articles, enjoy! :)

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