Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★½

I like to log and rate every movie that I watch, but this time I really just can't seem to assign stars. 

If I were to judge it solely on the quality of the filmmaking it would be **** maybe ****1/2. The production design, the editing, many of the performances were all wonderful. I hope Taika Waititi gets to make lots and lots more movies, his talent and clarity of vision is undeniable. 

However, if I follow my heart it was maybe ** at best. Here's the thing: my actual father was terrorized by actual Nazi youth. A group of ten year olds (the age of our protagonist Jojo) beset my eight year old dad while he was having an attack of appendicitis and beat him until his appendix ruptured and almost killed him. The actual gestapo came to their actual house, since they couldn't read Yiddish they just took every book with a red cover assuming it was communist. When the Nazis realized that my grandfather was actually a fairly influential Jewish novelist they burned all his books and papers including unpublished manuscripts that are lost forever in a pile of ash. This film's misguided attempt at whimsy negates NONE of that. NONE.  As revolting as Tarantino's rewriting of history can be at least Inglorious Basterds delivered a catharsis and in that relief, the trauma is at least recognized, even if it is not healed.  

When the leader of the most powerful country in the world refers to contemporary fascists as "very fine people" I'm still not ready for a movie where Nazis are the good guys - even if they are prepubescent and cute. A jew and a Nazi doing a cute dance in the street isn't the cure for fascism. And as America is starting to look a lot like Germany circa 1933 please excuse me if I'm not charmed. 

Maybe giving it a star rating isn't as hard as I thought. The last movie that made me feel this bad was Joker, but at least that movie knew it was dangerously nihilistic - Jojo Rabbit has the audacity to think it's twee and funny.

Dan liked these reviews