Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★★½

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Metacritic Metascore: 58


Release Date: 08 November 2019
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Budget: $14,000,000
Worldwide Gross: $87,763,183
OSCAR Nominations: 6
OSCAR Wins: 1

2019 Ranked
Redbox Ranked

Adolf Hitler: "Let them say whatever they want. People used to say a lot of nasty things about me. "Oh, this guy's a lunatic!" "Oh, look at that psycho! He's gonna get us all killed!"

SYNOPSIS: A young boy in Hitler's army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.

In this 'anti-hate satire', we follow the trials and tribulations of a German boy who finds a Jewish girl living in his attic and is confronted with a clash of his conditioned values that he was brainwashed with as a young child in Nazi Germany. If you think the synopsis sounds crazy, you have no idea what you're in for...

TRIVIA: Sam Rockwell said that in addition to having a dialogue coach to learn the accent, he watched classical and veteran actors like Marlon Brando, Ralph Fiennes, and Oskar Werner portray World War II-era Germans, and then decided that ultimately his character would be more like Bill Murray or Walter Matthau with a German accent.

One of Waititi's most endearing qualities about this film is that he knows when to make a joke about the Nazi's beliefs and ideals while also letting the bleakness of WW2 set in to embrace the deeper themes and emotions. Within the first act, Jojo sees his world through rose-tinted glasses as he gleefully gives the Nazi salute to his fellow neighbors on a bright sunny day. All of the Nazi characters are heightened and exaggerated for comic relief from Sam Rockwell's Captain Klenzendorf being a tired and annoyed German soldier, Rebel Wilson as the ignorant Fraulein Rahm to Stephen Merchant as the Gestapo agent Deertz. Waititi takes pleasure in making Nazis the butt of the joke from showing them being over-committed to saluting each other for just a simple introduction to their obliviousness of believing any stupid fake news they are told came from Hilter himself.

TRIVIA: Regarding the visual style, Waititi wanted something bright and colorful as most films covering this period are often desaturated with dull tones. "I wanted to show something that was actually a bit more authentic to the colors of the time. Germany was the height of fashion and design and textiles."

Waititi portraying a young boy's interpretation of Adolf Hitler was absolutely fascinating and he did a phenomenal job. His comedic performance is there to show the absurdity of Jojo's brainwashing from the Nazis' teaching. It also helps that he never to tries to humanize the portrayal of his character. There were even a few moments where he becomes a bit more antagonistic towards Jojo as he begins doubting the faith in his idol. There are uniformly amazing performances by the likes of Roman Griffin Davis playing Jojo, Scarlett Johannsen as his mother, Thomasin McKenzie as Elsa the Jewish hideaway, and the great Sam Rockwell.

The film also boasts some killer cinematography as well as a wonderful soundtrack, both of which punctuate some of the film's quieter moments to ground us in the era and atmosphere of the film.

TRIVIA: Taika Waititi described the film as a love letter to his mother, and single parents everywhere: "It wasn't until I was a grown up and I had kids of my own that I realized 'oh, these parent people, they make a lot of sacrifices, it's really hard raising a kid!'"

Taika Waititi uses the story of a boy's misguided fantasy and faith to show how easy it is for society to be manipulated into hating minorities, religions and/or groups of people especially when fake news and social media are present. But by the end of the day, he shows that compassion and love are still worth embracing in a cruel world so as long as we are able to confront cruelty in ourselves first.

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Fact-Checking / TRIVIA Source: IMDb

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