Wascally Wabbits? And Nazis? Whaaaat?
Updated: Mar 3
If you think JoJo Rabbit mocks or minimizes Nazi Germany, you're so wrong. Please read on.
Jo Jo Rabbit - This is a film that will stick. Based on the trailers, I had high expectations for it. I love incongruous material. I missed it at the theater and was delighted last night to find I could rent it in the comfort of my home. I got myself settled, anticipating the pleasure, but -- after the first ten minutes I was nervous. It takes some getting used to seeing Hitler presented whimsically. Whimsy and Hitler just don't go in the same sentence, never mind in a full-length film. Was this going to turn into a Sacha Baron Cohen film? I really hoped not. Then something happened . . . I fell asleep. Hey, it was a long week! So, this afternoon, rather than hitting the stack of papers I promised to hit, I turned on the film. I fast forwarded through the cruel scene with the older Hitlerjugend and the rabbit, and I found myself in Jo Jo's world. A world that he'd inherited. A world he was moving through as was expected of him. A world he was doing his best to make sense of with the intellect and imagination he possessed at ten. A world where his father was off fighting, presumably Americans, where his sister was dead, and his mother was trying to make this world a better place for them. Jo Jo can't even tie his shoes, but he's dealing with a world gone mad. Why wouldn't his fantasy life be mad as well? Seeing Nazi Germany through the eyes of a "Nazi" child was disturbing. Absolutely. The whimsy increased my level of discomfort. As Rilke's words appeared on the screen: "Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. / Just keep going. No feeling is final."
-- I found myself wondering . . .What do the children today see? How are they making sense these crazy days? Does some little kid, trying to fit in with his friends, have a red MAGA hat on and a loping Donald Trump following him around?