We here at Cosmopolitan are absolutely obsessed with movies, but we get that you’re a busy person and it’s hard to see all the films that are going to be “important” in any given year. In this series, Low-Key Highbrow, we’re giving you the basic gist on every one of those pictures you probably should have seen but never got around to. When your friend inevitably throws that Oscars watch party, we’re here to help you scam your way into sounding like the smartest person in the room.
Jojo Rabbit has been making people laugh and cry in equal parts since it premiered this past fall. The movie, written and directed by Taika Waititi, follows a young German boy named Jojo in the waning days of WWII. At 10 years old, he’s been fully indoctrinated into the Hitler Youth, so much so that his imaginary best friend is Adolf Hitler. When he finds out his mom is hiding a young Jewish woman in their house, he starts to rethink his beliefs as he gets to know her. The movie is a satirical interpretation that is much more lighthearted than I just made it seem, I promise! Here’s the trailer, which is absolutely adorable in every way.
Critics first saw the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The reviews were mostly positive, but there were definitely people who thought the tone of the picture, which is humorous, was a little weird considering the subject matter. I mean, it’s about Nazis. That tone is also a pretty large departure from the book the movie is based on, apparently (I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, sorry, I’m busy like you are!). That said, the audience score for the movie is 95 percent, so it seems like most people thought it was for them.
Now, the film is a nominee in the Best Picture category at the Oscars. Here’s what people will be saying if it ends up winning:
Why people would be pumped if it won:
- In 2020, antisemitism is unfortunately alive and well in the U.S. However, this movie is a satirical story and, from what I’ve been told, pokes major fun at Hitler and Nazis in a way that is clever enough to work in today’s climate. It’s worth mentioning that Waititi is Jewish. You could argue that making these people look ridiculous is just as important now as ever. There’s a flip side to that, and we’ll get into it in the next section.
- Related to that, a big plot point in the movie is the idea that Jojo reevaluates his behavior after he meets the girl living in his attic and changes his mind about what was previously a very set-in-stone idea. That’s not a bad narrative to reward right now.
Why people would be pissed if it won:
- I don’t know many people who actually saw this movie. Even I, a person whose job it is to see the movies, didn’t get a chance to see it. It’s always kind of a bummer when a movie that hasn’t been widely watched ends up winning Best Picture.
- This movie does take a joking tone about Nazis and Adolf Hitler, which could be interpreted as problematic. It feels like it’s not the best time to make jokes about Hitler, but the movie is satire. Without seeing it myself, I can’t say either way whether the film takes the right approach here. Just know that there are people on both sides of this argument!
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