Sunday, November 24, 2019

Movie Review: Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit is weird and wacky and funny; as such, it's probably not a movie for everyone. I expect some critics and audiences will view it the way they viewed Life Is Beautiful, which is that movies about World War II should not include humor. I disagree. I think humor done right can be appropriate. In the case of "Jojo Rabbit," humor is a natural offshoot of its perspective; that is, it's a look at Nazi Germany through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy whose imaginary friend is his idol, Adolf Hitler. Hitler comes off as a bumbling idiot through most of the movie, and in that way, I think it's cathartic. We often read that Hitler was a great orator, a master manipulator. In this movie, we get a chance to mock him and laugh at him and watch a heartfelt story about a boy who is smarter than him in so many ways.

I found myself laughing quite a bit during this movie simply from the absurdity of it all. The tone is similar to a Wes Anderson film -- vibrant and strange and unbelievable -- but in my opinion, it has more heart, which makes the absurdity endearing. It also almost made me forget that I was watching a movie about Nazi Germany, so that when there were hard scenes, they were all the more poignant. Perhaps that's why the humor didn't bother me and was actually necessary -- it lulled me into a false sense of happiness, only to snap me back to reality and remind me that the Holocaust was real, and World War II destroyed the lives of countless people, good Germans included.

So to sum up: I loved it. I'm sure I'll watch it again and probably in the theater -- that's how good I thought it was. You should watch it, too.

Thing I'm thankful for: storytelling through film. It's my favorite medium of education and entertainment. It speaks to me in a way that nothing else can -- not TV, not radio, not plays, not musicals, not operas, not even books. I love it.


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