Thursday, February 27, 2020

Jojo Rabbit

I didn't know what to think about this film the first time I saw it. I knew it was entertaining, and funny, but inside I didn't know if it was appropriate to be entertained by a movie on Nazism. But I have been entertained before by movies about Hitler and about Nazism.

The Producers (1967),  To Be, or Not to Be (1942)  and The Great Dictator (1940) are three of my favorite movies, and two of them were made while the war was still going on.

But times might be different now. In 2017 in Lennox, Massachusetts, the decision to include The Producers in a summer stock play series immediately drew protest from groups that said that the play normalized the Nazis.

I can see how that can be said about Jojo Rabbit too. Jojo's mother and father were both part of the Resistance, but Jojo was indoctrinated in to being a Nazi. Was he a bad person? No, Jojo was just a normal little boy who fell in with what was sweeping across the country and taught to him in school. And Sam Rockwell played a Nazi Captain who seemed to be a good guy who just went along with all the nonsense.

But I don't really think Taika Waititi had his target on Hitler and the Nazis. I think he had his sights on more contemporary hate groups and was pointing out how easy it was for people to fall in with them.

I don't think he was giving them a pass but was using them as an example to show us how easy it is (millions of Germans did) to give in to peer pressure, and join in with groups that promote hatred and divisiveness.

I think Jojo Rabbit was a really good, perhaps bordering on great, movie.