Last year’s Joker movie proved to be an enormous success with audiences, the Joaquin Phoenix-headlined DC film becoming the highest-grossing R-rated release of all time with $1.074 billion at the box office, as well as bagging a host of awards including the Best Actor Oscar for Phoenix’s portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime.
However, it seems the dark and gritty comic book character study also drew its fair share of criticism, with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) revealing that the movie attracted more complaints than any other in the UK.
“20 people wrote to us regarding Joker, objecting to the 15 classification,” states the BBFC’s Annual Report for 2019. “Several stated that we should have classified the film 18 because of violence and the film’s tone. A small number felt that the film should be banned. There are scenes of strong violence in the film that include stabbings and shootings, with accompanying bloody injury detail. They do not, however, dwell on the infliction of pain or injury in a manner that requires an 18”.
In total, the BBFC received 149 complaints across 70 films last year, a figure that was down more than 50% on 2018. Other movies which attracted multiple complaints include:
- The Favourite – 12 complaints for language, sex references and sex
- John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – 9 complaints about violence
- Alita: Battle Angel – 5 complaints about violence and language
- Fighting with My Family – 5 complaints about language and sex references
- The Queen’s Corgi – 5 complaints about sex references and animal cruelty
- Bumblebee – 4 complaints about violence and language
- Holmes and Watson – 4 complaints about language and sex references
- Shazam! – 4 complaints about language and scenes of horror
If you’d like to read more on the complaints, and the BBFC’s response to them, you can find them on page 9 of the annual report here.
Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix (The Sisters Brothers), Robert De Niro (Goodfellas), Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Bill Camp (Red Sparrow), Frances Conroy (American Horror Story), Brett Cullen (Narcos), Glenn Fleshler (Billions), Douglas Hodge (Penny Dreadful), Marc Maron (GLOW), Josh Pais (Motherless Brooklyn), Shea Whigham (Kong: Skull Island), Douglas Hodge (Robin Hood) and Dante Pereira-Olson (You Were Never Really Here).