19

In the movie Joker (2019), Arthur Fleck

imagines a scenario in his head that he is in a relationship

with the neighbour, Sophie.

This is

entirely delusional

as we realise when Arthur enters her apartment late at night, and she

gets freaked out by his presence and begs him to leave.

Arthur had at that point entered a nearly full-blown state of psychosis and was basically killing or ready to kill those who 'wronged' him.

He had already killed the three subway bullies and his mother, and he was ready to kill his coworker and Murray.

This scene where he enters her apartment is poignant in that he realises their relationship is entirely made up, but when questioned by her he replies "I've had a really bad day". This indicates that he's looking for help in the one place he thinks he might still be able to get it, no matter how unlikely. She asks him again to leave and says "Is there someone I can call? Is your mom home?"

Arthur had just murdered his mother in the hospital, so I'd doubt that would have made him happy.

I left the cinema thinking that he'd simply walked away. But my wife was under the impression that

he killed Sophie (and possibly her daughter).

Is this the case?

The reason why I don't think this happened was that in the interview with Murray Arthur says something about the people he'd killed

that didn't include Sophie.

2
  • 13
    First sentence is a huge spoiler too I think. – Ege Bayrak Nov 7 '19 at 12:54
  • 2
    I mean, I was about 20 seconds away from putting the entire question in a spoiler block to be honest... – Möoz Nov 8 '19 at 2:42
28

I get why your wife would think so, but she's mistaken. From an interview with SlashFilm:

In the end, you can question how much of it is actually real. For you, are there any visual cues in the movie that distinguish fantasy from reality?

Well, even the things that are there I’ll never talk about. We wanted to make the interpretation of the real versus what’s not real, a part of the viewer’s experience. For instance, his relationship to Sophie is a fantasy to him. Some people have asked me, “Was she killed?” Todd [the director] makes it clear she wasn’t killed. Arthur is killing people who’ve wronged him in a certain way, and Sophie never wronged him. In terms of what we did visually to play with the real and not real, there are callbacks and scenes that mirror each other. We leave hints using imagery or way we covered scenes similarly between scene. Outside of that, I like that people can have the conversation and come to their own conclusions.

"'Joker’ Cinematographer Lawrence Sher on Contrasts and Chaos", Jack Giroux for SlashFilm, October 23rd, 2019

20

The other answer here is good already and answers the question but I've found another source that has some more insight into the scene which is helpful here. The interview reiterates the quote from Sher in Jenayah's answer and then has the following from Todd Phillips himself (emphasis mine):

IndieWire recently asked Phillips about Sophie’s fate during a video interview with Anne Thompson, to which the director doubled down on the answer that Sophie is alive at the end of “Joker.”

“He doesn’t kill her, definitively,” Phillips said. “As the filmmaker and the writer I am saying he doesn’t kill her. We like the idea that it’s almost like a litmus test for the audience to say, ‘how crazy is he?’ Most people that I’ve spoken to think he didn’t kill her because they understand the idea that he only kills people that did him wrong. She had nothing to do with it. Most people understood that, even as a villain, he was living by a certain code. Of course he didn’t kill this woman down the hall.”

The apartment scene is the last time Zazie Beetz is seen in “Joker,” but Phillips revealed there was an additional beat planned for the film that would have not left Sophie’s fate up for debate. The director said the script included a cutaway moment during Arthur’s interview with Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) that showed Sophie watching the discussion on television. The shot would have confirmed outright that Arthur did not kill Sophie. Phillips cut the moment because he only wanted the movie to be told from Arthur’s point of view, and cutting to Sophie would have disrupted the film’s narrative structure.

Indie Wire, Todd Phillips Cut Zazie Beetz ‘Joker’ Scene That Confirmed Her Fate — Exclusive Video

That deleted scene actually appears in the leaked script, as it's leaked though take it with a pinch of salt for whether or not it is correct.

INT. SOPHIE'S APARTMENT, LIVING 116 ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Sophie's sitting on her couch watching this interview play out on TV. GiGi's asleep next to her. The open envelope and the money are lying on the coffee table. No sign of the flowers anywhere.

MURRAY FRANKLIN (ON TV) Let me get this straight, you think killing those young men is funny?

JOKER (ON TV) Yeah. But comedy is subjective, isn't that what they say? Besides, the way I see it, what happened was a good thing. All of you, Gotham, the system that knows so much, you decide, you decide what's right and wrong. What's real or what's made up. The same way you decide what's funny or not.

Sophie edges forward on the couch, can almost see a hint of agreement on her face.

[...]

INT. SOPHIE'S APARTMENT, LIVING 120 ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Sophie screams and jumps to her feet horrified! Waking up GiGi who starts to cry when she sees what's on television--

Joker - Leaked script

-1

No matter what the director, actors, writers or productors says after the movie is released.

The complete scene is designed to leave the spectator in albis doubting about the fate of Sophie and her daughter. This is completely intentional, as it raises the tension of the spectator, creating a breakpoint where the main character can turn from society's victim to villain.

Now... if the script, or the director's vision had a definite answer on the result of that question, it would be answered in a later scene, showing Sophie alive or showing their corpse, obituary, funeral, etc...

But (and this is a great but): there is no answer on the movie, so the answer is open to every spectator. You have the option to determine what happened based upon your sensations on the movie.

If there was an objective answer, on the following interviews, creators could have said: she's alive (or death) because on x scene you can see proof of it. If there's no proof it's open to your thoughts.

Then why answer on interviews that she's alive? Easy, because after the movie is released there is a clear interest in selling the character not like the psychopath he's going to turn on but more like a society's victim, so at a marketing level, is better to say that Sophie is alive. But if this was the intention from the beginning, a simple shot of her looking at the tv when he's being interviewed would have suffice to avoid the ambiguity.

TL;DR; They made an ambiguous scene purposedly to increase the tension on the movie, and so there's no actual answer to if she's alive or not.

6
  • A scene showing Sophie alive was filmed, it just wasn't included in the final edit and everyone involved in the movie has stated she is alive. I don't know why you're so confident on there being no answer when there clearly is one. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 6 '20 at 12:27
  • If in the final cut there's no scene, then there's no answer. If next year they release a director's cut and they include that scene, on that special edition she will be alive, but on the standard movie there's no answer. No matter what they say or why they say it, this is a critical scene, and not including a definitive answer to it is intentional to make the spectator taker her own decision. – Bardo Mar 6 '20 at 12:38
  • Yes it was intentional to leave it out of the final release, and the director explains why in the interview above. That doesn't mean you should ignore interviews or deleted scenes to find an answer. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 6 '20 at 12:40
  • I will put it this way: as she's not seen alive, nothing avoid them to film a sequel where there is a flashback in which Arthur kill her. No matter what is said on any interview. Inside the movie now there's no answer to the question, and so, they can pick any answer in the future if they want. No matter what they say today in any interview or what was the original intention. – Bardo Mar 6 '20 at 12:42
  • I understand what you're saying, it's just odd, in my opinion, to intentionally ignore all of the signs that say she's still alive. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 6 '20 at 12:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.