Growing up in a small German town in the dying days of World War II, ten-year-old Jojo (Davis) is a devoted, knife-carrying member of the Hitler Youth.
He is such a dedicated little Nazi, his mother quips that it took him three weeks to get over the fact that his grandfather didn’t have blonde hair. Jojo is sent by his mother Rosie (Johansson) to a Hitler Youth training camp where he’ll learn all sorts of youth activities such a grenade launching, stabbing, and killing.
Baulking at the actual killing part, Jojo is bullied and laughed out of the camp.
As he always does, Jojo turns to his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Waititi) for advice and this advice sets him on the path that will lead him to discover a young Jewish girl Elsa (McKenzie) hiding in his attic.
Terrified she will be turned into the Gestapo, Elsa fills the curious Jojo’s head with tall takes about Jews. Jojo, wanting to impress his Nazi leaders, starts writing a book to help identify Jews.
Over time, Jojo and Elsa become friends, each as vulnerable as the other in their own ways. A shocking tragedy suddenly forces them to really start to work together if they are to survive the war.
Should I watch it?
This movie won’t be for everyone, that’s for sure.
Jojo Rabbit, nominated for a slew of awards this year including Golden Globes, SAG awards, BAFTAs and Oscars, is satire delivered in the way only Taika Waititi can deliver and, quite possibly, get away with.
If you don’t enjoy satire or Waititi’s very particular sense of humour, you won’t enjoy this movie. Not one little bit.
However, if, like me, you’re a huge fan and watch What to Do in the Shadows on loop, or you love what he did with Thor Ragnarok, you’ll walk out of this movie with a huge smile on your face.
Full of very silly moments and even sillier characters, including an over the top Hitler, a barely closeted SS Captain (Rockwell) and a bespectacled, bumbling, best friend Yorki (Yates), this movie is as delightful as it is insightful.
Then, when the movie suddenly shifts gear, you’re deeply entrenched as the stakes become higher for all those involved and the movie rips itself open to expose it’s beating heart.
Understandably, there’ll always be those who won’t find humour in anything Nazi, especially considering the current new wave rise of white supremacy and the issues that presents our modern world.
But as with all things viewed from a satirical perspective, you’re allowed to laugh at what would otherwise be simple horror.
I liked this movie very much. Not as much as Waititi’s vampire mockumentary or Hunt for the Wilderpeople, but it’s completely deserving of the attention it’s currently receiving.
A great movie for kids if you’re prepared to have lots of discussion time with them before and after. And you both respond favourably to satire.
Running Time: 108 minutes
Release Date: In cinemas now
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Archie Yates
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