Written by Chris Beauchamp / Reviewed by Biplab Das
The Clown reveals the psychological turmoil of an artist wanting to leave behind his professional-self and rediscover his individual-self. The film starts with a quote– ‘When someone isn’t picked off, they’ll do whatever they can to be picked’- implying the pain of an individual who have been left out by the society but eager to make an impression at any cost. The story has two characters- Billy and Mr. Thompson. Billy is the protagonist of this film- referred here as The Clown who goes to visit a psychotherapist- Mr. Thomson. At the clinic, a series of conversations occur between The Clown and Mr. Thomson which eventually makes an impact on The Clown’s life.
The story starts with The Clown comes to visit the psychotherapist without changing his professional attire showing his psychological distance from the society. The attire reveals him as a party clown. The posture makes him look isolated, dejected and lost. Although his isolated nature makes him look dispirited but he didn’t lose the basic courtesy to greet another individual.
The film centers on the conversation between The Clown and the psychotherapist. The conversation gives you the meticulous portrayal of a person’s mind grappled with self-doubt and struggling to find his
psychological counterbalance. The attire and physical posture of the clown establishes he is completely engrossed with his professional-self which is causing trouble in his personal life. At the beginning of the conversation, it sounds really simple and placid. However, a simple introductory conversation with the therapist portrays The Clown’s submissive nature.
The story takes a turn when the psychotherapist asks him few more trivial questions but The Clown ends up giving innocuous replies. The psychotherapist immediately changes his stance and opts for a more traditional approach to open The Clown up. The therapist pushes The Clown really hard to know what exactly happened to him. In return, The Clown starts talking about his friends, girlfriend, and movies which has very little value to the therapist. But change in psychotherapist’s treatment approach makes The Clown look completely perplexed, confused and angry. The Clown doesn’t have a single clue to give a satisfactory reply to the psychotherapist. The Clown’s defensive approach turns the situation tensed and pensive.
The therapist explains to The Clown that he is nothing but expressing his material desires which has little to do with his psychological state making The Clown to recognize his fault. This is one of the most important scenes of the movie when his confusion and anger turns into sadness. His realization gives the opportunity to the therapist to explain how to come out from the world of morbidity and self-doubt. The Clown starts to get teary and sad. The therapist is waiting for a moment like this. He takes no time to ask – what made you to stop and when his detachment has actually started. These two questions completely break down The Clown. An eerie silence at the moment superbly unzips the innocent and vulnerable side of The Clown. He expresses his fear and uncertainty but assurance from the psychotherapist helps him to finally open up. A wave of emotions starts to emerge out of his dark, cold and dejected memory. He reveals how he coped up with life and tried to do something meaningful. His only desire was to get noticed and continue what he felt really meaningful. But the frustration of remaining unnoticed pushed him to work as a clown. However, the film ends on a positive note. The conversation really helps Billy, The Clown, to rediscover himself and leaving no sign of the clown. His happiness can be visible on face. He looks ready to return to the world he wants to live.
The movie is a psychological study of a person who has lost all confidence after being rejected by society. He had dreams but failed to achieve them which lead him to have a continuous struggle with his inner self. The story reiterates the importance of having a meaningful conversation as a remedy to end problems. The Clown is not funny, rather a self-discovery.