‘Jojo Rabbit’ is directed by Taika Waititi and is set in Nazi Germany, centered around a Hitler youth who’s an imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler (played by Taika Waititi). The boy, Jojo is a diehard ‘Nazi fanboy’ but is morally challenged when he discovers his mother has been hiding a Jew in his house without him knowing. The story may seem completely out of line and on the surface may be ill-advised to be promoted in a time like today. But Taika Waititi is able to make a heartfelt and enduring story that becomes the antithesis of what you’d think would come with this farfetched premise, and I had a great time watching it!
Make no mistake, the movie IS farfetched in its portrayal of Nazi Germany. To imagine that a Hitler youth camp back in the day takes the tone of a Wes Anderson comedy is in itself absurd, and I love that tone is set right away. Even Hitler in this film is a comedic dunce, played brilliantly played by the director, I loved his interactions with Jojo and how he played off of him. There are some incredible performances in this movie, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Alfie Allen all play Hitler youth camp runners and are hilarious. The standout for me comes from Scarlett Johanssen as Jojo’s mom. She is definitely the heart of the film and has some great character moments in scenes with Jojo that I think will get her nominated for best supporting actress for sure.
I also really enjoyed the performances both from Jojo and the Jew girl Elsa (played by Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie). Taika Waititi has a gift of being able to pull obscure young talent into the spotlight with incredible performances I really loved them and think they will go far as actors in their own respects. ‘Jojo Rabbit’ is non-stop laughs. The humor mainly works but in some lines in the theater, I could tell the laughs were a little uncomfortable to let out. The comedy toes the line and does it expertly making this not only one of the most heartfelt films this year but also the funniest.
If there are any issues I had, It comes from the character of Jojo. I ‘m sure people will disagree, however in my view Jojo is a very flawed character that doesn’t resolve himself the way that the film wants him to. I myself had a tough time with certain choices Jojo makes and the movie trying to redeem certain characters in the end. Tough to really explain in a spoiler-free review, but I feel regardless if I explained or not I would be in the minority here and that is ok. We’ll talk on the message boards.
Overall, ‘Jojo Rabbit’ is a fantastic movie. It’s funny, heartfelt, and has important timely messages that everyone can stand behind. Taika Waititi is a genius director, and I cannot wait to see what he does next.