Jojo Rabbit Review
There are very few nazi movies in existence, mainly, in my opinion, because it is a hard topic to cover. The wounds caused by the holocaust are still very real and in some cases still not fully healed. It’s a touchy subject to say the least. At the same time, I have always believed in the healing power of laughter, and I think most people can see the ludicrous behaviors in this film as comical, but I can also see where some could be offended. I say all this because there is a part of me that questions my own morals when I say that I really enjoyed this movie.
Jojo Rabbit (2019) was written and directed by Taika Waititi and stars Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson. The story takes place towards the end of WW2. In a small town in Germany, a young boy named Jojo (Davis) is deeply brainwashed into thinking his purpose in life is to be a Nazi. He follows directions from his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. One day at Nazi youth camp he is ridiculed for not being able to kill a rabbit and he is dubbed “Jojo Rabbit”. Later he finds that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic and his ethics come into question.
This movie messed with my head. It was funny because these kids were so ridiculous and the vibe of the movie was so over the top, but every once in a while the movie got real. Almost like a reminder that there is nothing funny about spreading hate and causing innocent bloodshed and then it would go right back to the humor. Quite the roller coaster ride. In the end, the heart is what surprisingly brought the movie together. The boy you laugh and shake your head at and sometimes judge becomes the boy you want to take home and keep safe. This kid has some acting chops, that’s for sure.
The casting in this film was brilliant. Rebel Wilson delivered some of the best comedic lines in the film as only she does best. Stephen Merchant was brilliant as well. I am a fan of his work with Ricky Gervais and it was awesome seeing him in a more dramatic role. Sam Rockwell is brilliant and seasoned as usual, and Scarlett Johannson is as beautiful as she is talented. (My number one celeb crush by the way).
Another thing I really loved was the visuals. The sets and costuming were perfect. I think I recognized part of the Universal backlot, but I am not too sure. Even the battle scenes toward the end were visually stunning. There was a layer of eye candy over the whole movie, and though it would have survived just fine without that artistic edge, it made this movie that much stronger and more fulfilling.
This film is not for everyone. If you are sensitive to these issues, you are at risk of being greatly offended, so don’t subject yourself to that. For everyone else that doesn’t mind seeing a controversial period comedy with an odd twist, you will enjoy this movie.