Jojo Rabbit is an audacious film that grapples with antisemitism and bigotry through the eyes of a child.
This anti-hate satire succeeds with a high degree of difficulty and finds the right balance of humor, tragedy, and drama. A film you don’t want to miss, writer-director Taika Waititi’s (Hunt For The Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok) Jojo Rabbit will stick with you. In this World War II mockery, we follow a lonely German boy (a terrific Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (the wonderful Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (a never better Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Jojo is apart of the Hitler Youth training camp, along with his best friend Yorki (a funny Archie Yates). Jojo is also aided by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (director Taika Waititi). Waititi is a wild and buffoonish spoof version of Hitler, as he keeps the audience laughing throughout the picture. Now, Jojo must confront his blind nationalism and choose a better path. Humanity or hatred?
Waititi dances on a fine line between fantasy and reality, as he manages to keep the audience focused and never straying. Waititi balances both humor and the real-life horrors of the Holocaust — it's a scary tight rope but, in the end, I believe Waititi pulled it off. Davis and McKenzie's chemistry together is charming, as we see them grow throughout the film enduring hard times as children. Johansson's performance might be small but it's extremely powerful, as we watch a single mother grapple with raising a son through war-stricken times. Johansson's performance is a marvel and the same goes for Sam Rockwell's performance as Captain Klenzendorf, an Army officer who runs a Hitler Youth camp. There's a deep sense of sweetness and innocence that perseveres through the movie and in the end, finds life in the gift of laughter. Jojo Rabbit has a bigger heart than it can share, but that doesn't stop the film from trying. I enjoyed this picture and I hope that you do as well. Jojo is one of the most important films of the year. This Nazi-mocking satire has a lot of significant things to say and is a film everyone should watch at least once.
Jojo Rabbit is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) For mature thematic content, some disturbing images, violence, and language.
Directed by Taika Waititi
Starring Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, Thomasin McKenzie, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Archie Yates as Yorki.
Favorite line: "I am going home to my mother. I need a cuddle" — Yorki
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