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
Oscar Wins - Best Adapted Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress
(Scarlett Johansson), Best Costume Design,
Best Production Design, Best Film Editing
First, he gave us one of the more original horror comedies with What We Do in the Shadows. Then, he gave us one of the more unique entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Thor: Ragnarok. Now, we got probably his most original, funny, and heartfelt movie in Jojo Rabbit. Taika Waititi is quickly proving himself to be the most unique voice in Hollywood and I feel it’s safe to say this film cements that statement. This is a film about a Nazi-supporting child from Germany whose imaginary friend is Hitler and he finds a Jew hiding in a secret room in his house. Yeah, you read that right. Before you judge me, or this movie, let me discuss why I liked it so much.
For anyone who has seen this director’s prior films, then you know he has a knack for comedy. That doesn’t stop here. There are numerous laugh out loud, gut-busting scenes of hilarity. Whether that be from the situation or the actors themselves. With that, I have to give a shout out to Watiti’s performance as an imaginary Adolf Hitler. He plays him up as extremely goofy and it works. Also, the kid who plays Yorkie. He easily steals the scene every time he shows up and delivers some of the film’s funniest lines. Not all is jokes, though, as Waititi delivers some very heartfelt moments here. As I mentioned earlier, our main character finds a Jewish girl hiding in his home. This leads to the film’s underlying message of how to make the best of anything in even the worst situation as Jojo learns the truth about the Jewish people.
Jojo Rabbit is, plain and simple, great. This is a film where you’ll be laughing one minute and cry the next. Waititi delivers another great film with a beautiful message. For anyone who might be turned off by the Nazi imagery and storyline, I implore you to look past that. This isn’t a film about that. It’s a film about how to keep moving when all seems lost. As for the director, I’m more than excited for what he gives us next.
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.