February Film Review: To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, Jojo Rabbit, and Emma

February has been the month of book adaptations for me, starting off with To all The Boys: P.S I Still Love You, the light-hearted adaption of the book of the same name by Jenny Han, then to Jojo Rabbit, a much looser adaptation of Caging Skies, and finally Emma, a new take on the eponymous classic. Even though we’re now closer to April than February, I thought I’d reminisce on what I watched at the cinema; March’s run-down is going to be sourced from Netflix due to the current lockdown. It’s probably worth mentioning that I haven’t read any of the books that these films are based on.

  1. To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You

The long-awaited second instalment to the cult teen movie “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” has finally landed, starring Netflix’s veteran of the teen movie circuit Noah Centineo and Lana Condor. When I sat down to watch this, on my own on Valentine’s Day, I was expecting much of the same as the previous installment: a heart-warming story that requires little concentration but makes you feel good. I was not wrong, but let’s be honest, that’s the aim of the film and there’s nothing wrong with that – in fact, that what I was looking for, and I’m sure what most people watching the film are looking for. My main criticism is that nothing really happened over the course of the film, but I enjoyed this one and I’m looking forward to relaxing and watching the next instalment when it hits Netflix in due course.

      2. Jojo Rabbit

Now from a teen romance to a Nazi satire, Jojo Rabbit tells the story of young Hitler Youth member Johannes “Jojo” Betzler, who conjures up an imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler himself, portrayed by Taika Waititi as cowardly and moronic. As he witnesses more and more of the dark side of the ideologies holding up the dictatorship, he starts to see himself as someone who can think for himself, not the blind follower that he has been for most of his young life.

A film like this is particularly suited to today’s atmosphere, especially with the ease of access to hatred and prejudice through social media and the increased awareness of the impacts of such sentiments. Without a doubt the film is a bold move, often treading the line between the comedic and the insensitive, but nevertheless, emphasises the importance of individualistic thought, and the consequences of the lack thereof.

However, at the end of the film, I was expecting more of a stronger anti-Nazi, anti-anti-Semitic message to come through; the film was building up for Jojo to have a moment of realisation when he sees that the dogmas he’d been fed all of his life were untrue, but it wasn’t really there. All in all, though, as someone who has spent time studying this era, this was an interesting portrayal of a period when, over a very short space of time, societal norms metamorphosed in line with the convictions of the State.

      3. Emma

Emma is a simultaneously heartwarming, funny and beautifully crafted film with many highlights, the main one being the stellar cast; Miranda Hart was the star of the show for me ( not surprising, considering the number of times I’ve watched her sitcom). It definitely took me a while to get my brain adjusted to the language that they were using, but it made it feel more authentic for the Regency period. The perfect film to watch with your mum, or anyone who’s up for two hours and twelve minutes of gladsome viewing.

February was a great month for films, but it looks like I’m going to have to look online for my March choices. On the bright side, it’ll mean I’m saving some money and of course limiting social contact. I’ll try and be more on time with this month’s round-up!

Take care, Al


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