Didn't Expect That - Jojo Rabbit a Review
Date: 10th November 2019 (not the actual date I saw the film had to mull it over for a few days - okay a week!)
Writer: Hineani Melbourne
Warning! I hate writing film reviews or book reviews. I'm a pretty uncomplicated consumer I either like it or hate it. So/so films are usually lumped with "hate it".
Disclaimer: I didn't want to watch this film. As my friend reminded me, "everyone is raving about it." Exactly the reason I didn't want to see it. What if everyone else is clapping and cheering and I'm searching for the nearest exit (preferably close to a bar).
The films I love are non-mainstream. I sit mesmerised by indigenous films, films few people in New Zealand get to see.
Films that reveal an entirely different lens on the world, a new world, a completely unique take on existence. I come out of those as if I have been to a religious revival. Eyes wide, stunned at the magnificence of life, the environment, how culture is entwined with the land, that few know or understand. Praise the Gods.
Mainstream or the latest rage, usually it is my kids who drag me reluctantly to see "popular" films., aren't my "thing". But I went. Bought myself an ice cream and indulged in a small coke - living dangerously I went the whole hog. In summary the ice cream melted in my hands as I struggled to eat it while mesmerised by the story on the screen and after the coke I was dying to go to the ladies.
And the film? What the hell was a Māori film director- writer doing with a story about the Third Reich and Jews? I mean I'm one of the vanguard of critics of non-Māori making "Māori" films. I was relieved to see Taika had Jewish heritage.
But I couldn't see how the hell can Hitler and a Jew in hiding be funny!
Mind you I love satire and slowly reluctantly I was drawn into the world of this fervent little boy who wants to belong aided by his best friend Adolf Hitler. I ached for his solo mother secretly working for the resistance trying to be the best mother she could be while hiding deadly secrets.
Unlike other "critics" I won't dissect the film, expect to say it drew you in and held you captivated charmed, elicited big belly laughs, then fear for the characters who became so dear to you and devastated at the loss. I read a review from a mother warning parents that their children will hear swear words and disturbing scenes and I thought actually children lived and still live through worse in real life.
For me it was a beautifully shot and constructed film, Taika's best film to date. I'd recommend you go, its a film that is going to resonate for years.
And one more thing "go Chelsea Winstanley the producer - well done wahine Māori".
Now as I leave I carefully tie my shoelaces and think of Jojo Rabbit. Ngā mihi mahana Taika & Chelsea.