Jojo Rabbit has gained critical acclaim for its way of interpreting World War II through the point of view of children.
Jojo, played by Roman Griffin Davis, is a 10-year-old boy who is growing up in Nazi Germany and is being conditioned at a young age to be a Nazi and fight in the war by an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler, played by the director himself Taika Waititi.
His mother, played by Scarlett Johansson, wants him to remember that he is a good kid. When Jojo finds out that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa, played by Thomasin McKenzie, in the walls, it changes his entire worldview.
Sometimes in films there are unwritten rules about what can and can’t be funny, or talked about but “Jojo Rabbit” breaks those barriers.
This film is a satire but it makes you feel angry, makes you want to cry and laugh. There were many moments that angered me and made me want to cry because of how real some of the scenes felt. It has funny moments, thanks in part to the children cast, they captured an innocent and naïve way where we understand it wasn’t their fault. Some of the things the children and Nazis believed to be true about Jewish people were completely absurd, which upholds the films message that war is absurd.
Jojo made this imaginary friend out of not having his father around. Waititi’s portrayal of Hitler starts off as a concerned and helpful role for Jojo, but as the film progresses his character shows his true self to Jojo as he realizes the truth of everything. It’s still hard to understand how Waititi made his character work alongside a child.
This is a well made film, but it is not for the faint of heart. There are triggering moments, such as the fanaticism of Nazi’s in the opening scene. Words that are uncomfortable to hear are naturally said in this film and makes the audience feel unsettled.
I would recommend watching this film with an open mind, as this film is a roller coaster of emotions. You will learn, however, that no matter how bad a film may look it could change your mind by the end.