Marcy Webb’s review published on Letterboxd:
the idea that the Nazis haven't won if one Jew survives is ludicrous
if even one person dies, it's a quantifiable loss and a death too many: the Nazis have still won
anyway, if I was a young Jewish girl in Nazi Germany, I would absolutely flee away at the first opportunity from a boy working on a book endorsed by Nazi officials about how evil and demonic Jews are (using your own words against you), draws about how he wants to murder your boyfriend and impersonates him even when he's been murdered, pretends the Nazis have won the war to the very end even when his anti-Semitic compatriots have been deservedly executed by the Americans
Waititi reveals some nuanced (?) ideas about Nazi ideology: the notion that being friends and an adoptive sibling to a Jew automatically passes that identity onto you, and the fluidity of that hatred: in the middle of losing a war, and when you're getting a girlfriend, it doesn't really matter (?)
that only some famous figures are considered Jewish when it's politically convenient is an interesting and relevant one: Jewish culture and lives can feel so assimilated into the everyday that it's never really a consideration. figures like Bernie Sanders become characterised in the media and online spaces with anti-Semitic iconography, but every other day I'm finding out about another director or actor or artist or friend I follow with Jewish roots that I'd never never even known before
10 year old boys can be some of the most vile Nazis out there. there's something to the cognitive dissonance of denying the death of Adolf Hitler - and the demise of the nation - because it facilitates your own worldview
but the absences of this film (like the Holocaust, or the insidious nature of anti-Semitism stretching back millennia, beyond a single world war) are pretty egregious. but I suppose the school system has some pretty egregious gaps in the way it teaches Nazi Germany and the context of the Holocaust too?
I look back at my high school years in disgust. I inexplicably remained friends with this guy who talked about being Jewish and having a nose (!) but also at the same time espoused Nazi and racist ideology? He'd send links to me of a Holocaust denial website that shocked me to receive but then later claim was a joke? He dated a girl of colour briefly but then double downed on the racism, discussing with the group the fact that some ideas that are seen as racist are just facts, like the notion that black people are better/more athletic runners/swimmers because of... genetics? This was a really toxic group that introduced me to the Goodies (and the notion of apartheid, and the scenes of blackface) through their problematic Apart-height episode without an adult framework to really understand it critically. In high school these people taught be the N-word was okay to say and for that I'm profoundly sorry. I'm a different person.
Deradicalising toxic ideologies is possible. But maybe it's a little different when you're in a country like Nazi Germany.
I'm thankful I wasn't in a cinema crowd (it was pretty empty) that didn't laugh whenever an anti-Semitic trope was reaffirmed as a joke as Esther wrote in her review. But I can see how for the less educated, less critical, and yes, more Nazi, it may end up doing that.