While the film is somewhat polarizing, moviegoers are raving about the film and Joaquin Phoenix's performance as the titular character. Phoenix is also gaining Oscar traction. Rex Reed wrote for The Observer:
Joker is most definitely not a movie for everybody, but in the greatest performance of his career, Phoenix is electrifying. Weeping, shrieking, dragged screaming through police stations and mental asylums, then pausing after each evil slaughter to dance balletic tour jetés, he’s a cross between Jacques D’Amboise’s Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake and James Cagney’s Cody Jarrett in White Heat. As a sick, twisted failure in life who takes his torment out on the rest of the world, he reveals the soul of a monster in Hell, in a movie that borders on genius—repellant, dark, terrifying, disgusting, brilliant and unforgettable.
The film holds a fresh rating of 68 percent and an audience score of 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (at the time of publication). "Joker" has grossed over $247 million globally so far (at the time of publication), breaking box office records for October openings.
The film definitely has raised a lot of critics concern over the film inciting violence. Ahead of the film's release, victims of the mass shooting in Aurora expressed their concerns in a letter to Warner Bros, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“[The Aurora shooting], perpetrated by a socially isolated individual who felt ‘wronged’ by society, has changed the course of our lives,” reads the letter obtained by EW. “When we learned that Warner Bros. was releasing a movie called Joker that presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story, it gave us pause.”