An overzealous Hitler Youth discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl
in their house, and his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler is none too pleased.
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Written and Directed by Taika Waititi
Starring Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen,
Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Archie Yates
Based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens
Jojo Rabbit is one of the most brilliant films of the year. It uses biting satire to tell a poignant story of a Hitler Youth realizing that the Nazis are the bad guys just as World War II is coming to an end. The trailers were admittedly not great, as they painted the film as more of a Nazi comedy with a goofy Hitler, as opposed to what it really is. Jojo Rabbit makes you sympathize with Nazis, and it shows you how the German people were affected by the war, namely the ones who resisted in secret. Led by a career-making performance from Roman Griffin Davis, this film will make you laugh and cry all at once.
Davis is Jojo Betzler, a patriotic Hitler Youth with confidence issues, but his imaginary friend Adolf (Taika Waititi) is there to make him feel better about himself. Waititi's performance as a goofy, childish imaginary Hitler who gradually evolves to become more psychotic as Jojo learns the truth is absolutely bonkers but brilliant. Jojo's worldview is shattered when he learns his mother his hiding Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie), a Jewish girl, in the attic. He starts seeing his mother as a traitor, but then he starts befriending Elsa, and everything begins to change. Waititi's writing and directing help push this hilarious satire into serious territory, particularly during one scene involving a certain pair of shoes.
I expected Jojo Rabbit to be good, but I didn't expect it to be great. This film shows you World War II from the perspective of a German child, a Hitler Youth. You're looking through the lens of the propaganda, viewing the war as Jojo sees it, as a necessary evil to defend the German people from the evil Jews, Russians, and Americans. I think this film is going to make waves, or at least I hope it does.