Salutations fellow movie goers from around the globe. Today’s editorial is pretty different. I’ll be breaking down two movies that share similarities to each other. The timeless family classic “Matilda” & an Oscar nominated film about the origin story of Batman’s archenemy “Joker.” If you wanna check out my reviews of both movies, feel free.
Todd Phillips is working on a sequel to Joker. Emma Thomas will appear in a remake of Matilda based on the Broadway musical of the same name. Hear me out. This is just an opinion based editorial. I’m not clickbaiting anybody for attention. Both films having similarities is purely coincidental. I’m speaking as a movie goer and Batman fan.
This editorial contains massive SPOILERS for both films. If you haven’t seen both of them, read at your own risk.
Reason 1 – Humble Beginnings
Both Joker & Matilda grew up with unpleasant parents.
Joker was adopted by Penny Fleck. He was abused by his stepfather causing him to suffer from brain damage resulting in a disease called, Pseudobulbar Affect. A neurological disorder when a person suffers from uncontrollable laughter. It is a real life disease. Penny is also a terrible mother towards him.
Matilda’s Neanderthal parents Harry & Zinnia Wormwood ignore their daughter, forgetting her name, only care about their firstborn son. Harry is an ignorant moron towards Matilda. Especially her love for books.
Reason 2 – Skills & Abilities
Matilda is a child prodigy extremely intelligent beyond her years. One night, she discovers she has telekinetic powers. She uses them for good, not for anarchy.
Despite brain damage since childhood, Joker is good with a gun. After killing three Wall Street employees for bullying him, he becomes a cult figure spreading deadly riots with people wearing clown masks. Like the comics, he’s manipulates people doing his dirty work as shown near the end.
Their gift “activates” one night. Matilda accidentally blows up a TV. Joker kills three Wall Street employees in self-defense.
Reason 3 – Personality, Hobbies & Attire
Again, Matilda is a child prodigy extremely intelligent, kind, empathetic and snarky. She likes to read books. Always dressed in blue and wears a bow on her head.
Joker has a passion for stand-up comedy. A talented dancer. A smoker. Very skinny from not eating. His idol is talk show host Murray Franklin. Signature color is red, instead of purple from the comics. At first, he used to be a nice guy who was close with his mother, until he learns the horrible truth about his troubled childhood, he becomes a delusional psychopath lacking empathy.
Both have a passion for writing. Joker writes off-color jokes. Matilda loves reading.
Reason 4 – Friends/Confidantes
Joker’s only friend is his co-worker Gary. After brutally killing Glenn to a pummel, he spares Gary, because he was nice to him. Joker’s girlfriend turned out to be him imaginary. She doesn’t count as a soulmate.
Matilda befriended Lavender and they instantly become besties. She also forms a strong bond with Miss Honey.
Both characters have a close friend who’s good.
Reason 5 – Enemies
Before he crossed paths with Batman, Joker’s enemies are Bruce’s father Thomas Wayne, talk show host Murray Franklin & his co-worker Glenn. As the story moves forward, Joker descends into madness killing Murray & Glenn. His actions are the cause of Batman’s origin story when a clown in a mask shoots his parents.
Matilda’s main adversary is Miss Trunchbull. A homely tyrannical principal who mocks and gives students a cruel punishment.
Both lead characters’ actions near the end sparks a rebellion.
Reason 6 – Tone
Both movies have an element of Black Comedy. Matilda’s tone has a balance between sweetness and dark humor belonging in a Tim Burton film. Joker’s tone is unapologetic refusing to say sorry as it goes in a realistic route building up Joker’s decent into madness influenced by Alan Moore’s graphic novel “Batman The Killing Joke” showing us the origin story of The Clown Prince Of Crime with some scenes that may or may not be true. A nod to the comics, because Joker prefers his past to be told in multiple choice.
One more thing, both films features a character named, Bruce. One is my favorite superhero of all time. The other is a fat boy who surprisingly didn’t suffer a heart attack from eating a big chocolate cake.
Reason 7 – Character Development
Both characters stand up to themselves and accept their gifted attributes. Joker becomes a deranged psychopath who has beef with the rich mistreating him and the poor. When Murray insults him on TV, Joker feels betrayed by idol. After Arthur kills both his mom and co-worker Gary, he celebrates his decent into madness by dancing down the stairs with Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll” playing in the background which became a groundbreaking scene.
Matilda proudly uses her powers as a part of herself. She goes all out dancing in the living room with furniture flying all over the place while the song “Little Bitty Pretty One” playing in the background.
That’s right. Both characters accept their gifts by dancing with a tune playing. Then, the cops show up. Joker flees the donut patrol. Matilda confronts the boys in blue (one of them played by Paul Reubens) about her father’s illegal activities.
Reason 8 – Outcome
After ranting about Gotham’s wealth on Murray’s talk show, his idol mocking him, Thomas Wayne and society, Joker fatally shoots Murray sparking a deadly riot of his followers wrecking havoc in the streets of Gotham. He inadvertently influences a random mugger shooting Bruce Wayne’s parents. Meaning Joker plays a key role in Batman’s origin story. Although Gotham ends on a somber tone until The Caped Crusader will eventually cross paths with his archenemy, Joker has his own happy ending. He laughs about Bruce’s origin story. Hence the words, “You wouldn’t get it.” The movie leaves the audience to interpret if Joker knows Batman’s identity as they may or may not be related. I would say they aren’t, Joker deduces Batman and Bruce Wayne are one of the same.
Matilda confronts Trunchbull at school. With assistance from Ms. Honey, she uses her powers to humiliate Trunchbull as retaliation for mistreating her classmates. Thus, her classmates riot against Trunchbull causing her to escape the school forever. As Matilda & Ms. Honey celebrate their victory, The Wormwoods are on the run from the cops thanks to Matilda ratting them out. Before they leave, Matilda requests she wants to be adopted by Ms. Honey. The Wormwoods officially signed the adoption papers. Thus, Ms. Honey becomes her mother with Matilda having her own happy ending.
Both films end with a song. “Send Me On My Way” is used when Matilda & Ms. Honey bond. “That’s Life” is used when Joker is in Arkham Asylum fleeing from Arkham guards.
Reason 9 – Performance
Joaquin Phoenix earned universal acclaim for his performance as Joker from critics, Batman fans and movie goers alike. As of mid-2021, he’s currently working on upcoming movies such as reuniting with “Gladiator” director Ridley Scott in “Kitbag.” A biopic about Napoleon Bonaparte’s life. “C’mon C’mon” “Disappointment Boulevard” and he’s rumored to reprise his role as Joker in an upcoming sequel. Todd Phillips is currently brainstorming ideas.
Mara Wilson earned praise for her signature performance as Matilda. Her acting career flatlined appearing in “A Simple Wish” & “Thomas And The Magic Railroad.” She quit acting. Today, Mara is now a published author. She wrote a book about her life and career titled, “Where Am I Now:? True Stories Of Girlhood And Accidental Fame.” If you grew up watching Matilda, I highly recommend the book.
Reason 10 – Critical & Commercial Impact
Joker earned universal acclaim praising Joaquin Phoenix’s performance, Todd Philips’ direction, dark tone, complex origin story among may other things. Joaquin took home many awards ranging from a Golden Globe, SAG Award and ultimately an Oscar. Making him the second Joker actor to win an Oscar. Heath Ledger posthumously won for “The Dark Knight” Both Joaquin & Joker became the first two actors to play the same characters. Marlon Brando & Robert De Niro won their Oscars portraying Don Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” & “The Godfather Part II.” Joker became the first R-rated movie to earn $1 billion dollars at the box office.
At the time of its release, Matilda earned mixed to positive reviews and it didn’t make enough revenue at the box office. Overtime, it became a timeless cult classic among kids who grew up or were born in The 90s like me. Daisy Ridley mentioned many times Matilda is her favorite movie growing up. She stated Mara Wilson is her acting role model.
Both movies earned iconic status for different reasons mentioned above.
I hereby declare Joker is a darker and hard R remake of Matilda. If the upcoming remake of the latter is a pooper not on the same Class A level as the 1996 original, we all know what the real remake is. The Clown Prince Of Crime’s Oscar nominated movie that should’ve won “Best Picture. If Joaquin Phoenix is coming back in Joker 2, it’s gonna be very tricky to recapture lightning in a bottle.