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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

‘Jojo Rabbit’ takes viewers on best emotional roller coaster

[penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left” custom_markup_1=””]Director Taika Waititi  (Thor: Ragnarok, Into the Wildlife) takes us on a touching adventure in his third feature film, JoJo Rabbit, when he tells the coming-of-age story of 10-year-old boy JoJo Betzler (newcomer Roman Griffin Davis) as he navigates life in Germany during World War II. 

Betzler wants nothing more than to be a top graduate in the Hitler Youth Camp, a weekend training program for young german boys and girls, so he can fight on the front lines for his country. His rabid nationalism is put to the test when he discovers his mother, Rosie Betzler (Scarlett Johansson, Avengers Endgame) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace) within their walls. With Adolph Hitler  (Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok) who is Betzler’s imaginary friend, by his side, Betzler grapples between doing his duty for his country or protecting himself and his family. 

JoJo Rabbit is a powerful cinemagraphic timepiece that gives an atypical look into the life of the World War II narrative.  While Waititi never offers the audience a reason to sympathize with any Nazi cause, I still found myself hating to love the characters. Even with its dramatization, imaginary friends and childish daydreams, JoJo Rabbit is still firmly based in truth. That truth, being the way the children in the film interpret jewish culture, but in reality that was how it was truly seen en mass. Such as, believing that Jewish people grew horns when they turned twenty-one. 

The threat of intolerance that Nazi’s authority has on Jewish people and Jewish sympathizers is unnervingly real, and the consequence of death from betraying that influence is omnipresent throughout the film even if it is not explicitly expressed. 

As a self proclaimed non-crier at the movies, I admit my time watching the film caught me off guard with a constant stream of tears while sitting on a Ragtag Cinema couch. As emotionally exhausting as it was, I would still place JoJo Rabbit as one of my top movies of the year, if not of all time, purely for the fact that it is able to make me feel so involved with the characters in only 108 minutes of run time. 

For anyone looking for colorful comedy that makes you feel 10 years old again, JoJo Rabbit is a fantastic example. The most important takeaway from a film with an overarching theme of kindness and empathy comes from Rosie Betzler as she reminds her son: “Life is a gift. We must celebrate it. We must dance.” 

All of the scenes were captivating in their own unique ways, making me want to watch it over and over. This movie opens doors to conversations about nationalism and discrimination that generations post-war are not ready to have in fear of saying the wrong things. 

[/penci_text_block][penci_info_box _text=”Critical reception of this film was overall positive, with a 79 percent score on the movie critic website, Rotten Tomatoes from critics and an audience score of 97 percent. Not only that, but the film’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival earned itself the top People’s Choice Award, an honor that has gone to such films as “Greenbook,“ “La La Land“ and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.“
While the public sees this satire as a poignant reflection of the times, current and past, some were not too keen to lean into the dark humor of the film.
Josh Martin of the online movie reviewing platform Film Inquiry argued, “Frustratingly, the film’s path from blind faith to a stark encounter with the truth never fully captures the scope of Nazism’s horrors…the most horrific event is only portrayed as horrific because it connects directly to Jojo.”
In a “Variety“ article, however, actor Stephen Merchant, who plays a Gestapo agent in the film, said, “Satire is one of the most powerful things you have against these sorts of ideas and the sort of nonsense that `{`Hitler`}` was trading on. The fact that people are still subscribing to some of those beliefs is all the more reason to sort of laugh at it and sneer at it and poke holes in it.”
As critics and casual movie watchers alike struggle to accept the balance between satire and the movie’s depiction of horrific events in history, the film, with an all-star cast and the pattern of awards previous Oscar nominees have had, it still puts itself on a trajectory to get well-earned Oscar buzz for the 2020 awards.” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-film” _use_line=”true” block_id=”penci_info_box-1573527527110″ _title=”Some backstory” title_color=”#2bb673″ icon_color=”#2bb673″ line_color=”#2bb673″]Do you think satire is a viable art form when dealing with topic as atrocious as the Holocaust?

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    Desmond KisidaJan 29, 2020 at 10:39 pm

    This is my film of the year. I loved it so much. Waititi is one of my favorite directors, and I think he could win best director just for his hilarious performance as Hitler. JoJo Rabbit was just incredible storytelling and it was such a perfect balance of comedy and drama. Some moments have you on the edge of your seat, and some have you falling out of your seat.