All members of the class agreed that the film was clever, with comments on the excellent usage of music. This was not an easy film, and some did not enjoy it, while acknowledging it as a great film. Others felt it was the best film they had seen this year. There was some humour which perhaps helped relieve the blackness of the storyline. It won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The performance by Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo was extremely good. He showed the impact of the brainwashing of children, but also how meeting with the young Jewish girl, Elsa, changed his perception of those who he had been taught were “alien”. One line stands out. At Jojo’s request, Elsa draws a picture of where the Jews come from – it is a picture of Jojo’s head. When Jojo questions this, she agrees – it is where they come from, in his head. We were alerted to how myths and rumours can impact on how people think. Another line worth noting is Elsa’s comment: “You’re not a Nazi, Jojo. You’re a 10-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club”.
Other comments were around the performance by Jojo’s friend Yorki, played by Archie Yates, Americanisation of some of the dialogue, and some great one-liners from Rebel Wilson’s character. Shoes played an interesting role in the film, used in one of the most challenging scenes when Jojo finds his mother has been hanged by first seeing her shoes, and later with Jojo, previously unable to tie his own shoe-laces, able to tie Elsa’s.
We felt that a younger audience may not have recognised some of the subtlety, although at one session some young people certainly appeared to enjoy the comedic aspects. We rated this as 4 out of 5, even those who had not actually enjoyed the film, acknowledging the cleverness and performances.
To keep us in touch while we are unable to meet let’s do the following:
- Watch a film before 8 April (our scheduled class time). This can be any film of your choice, from any source available to you
- On 8 April (our scheduled class time) write some comments on the film to share with the class.
- Send your comments to the whole of the class.