In a movie as ambiguous as Joker, there are many scenes that need to be chewed over and analyzed to figure out the full extent of what they mean. One standout example is the sequence when Arthur Fleck, at one of his lowest points, empties out his fridge and climbs inside it, shutting himself in the cold, dark space. But what are we to make of this moment?
First of all, it’s important to note that this scene was not scripted and was an on-set bit of improvisation from Joaquin Phoenix. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher revealed this interesting fact to CinemaBlend, explaining that it came about simply through the actor fully diving into Fleck’s fractured – and sleep-deprived – mental state.
“When he climbed in the refrigerator, we had no idea he was going to do that. We set up two camera positions, and Joaquin just thought about what he would do if he was a massive insomniac.”
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So, this tells us that Phoenix was really using this scene to demonstrate something about Fleck’s frame of mind. The obvious interpretation is that he simply wanted to shut himself off from the world, and all the negativity that had built up around him of late, for a short time.
A darker interpretation put forward by ScreenRant, however, is that Fleck was attempting to kill himself via either suffocation or hypothermia. He was certainly suffering from suicidal thoughts, after all, as evidenced by his rehearsals for his spot on Murray Franklin’s show.
It’s also important to note that we don’t see Fleck emerge from the fridge, as the next scene begins with him in bed. So, it’s possible this is simply a fantasy, perhaps a suicidal one, that he’s experiencing as he struggles to sleep. Sher’s comment about Fleck’s insomnia seems to support this theory, too.
Tell us, though, how do you interpret the fridge scene in Joker? Join the discussion in the comments section down below.