Movie Review: Jojo Rabbit
Jojo Rabbit is directed by Taika Waititi, and it stars Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johanson, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, and Rebel Wilson.
Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is a 10-year-old boy who’s anxious and excited to become a man by becoming a member of the Nazi party. Jojo’s imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), helps him through the process.
This film is easily one of the best in 2019! It had all the ingredients to be a horrible film, yet Waititi does an exceptional job with everything; directing, writing, and acting. I first saw this film a bit over a week ago and immediately wanted to walk right back into the theater when it ended. Luckily I watched it again and loved it even more. This film wouldn’t be successful without Roman Griffin Davis’s portrayal of Jojo; he is one of the best child actor performances I’ve seen this year. Waititi’s portrayal of the childlike imaginary friend, Hitler, was hilarious. Thomasin McKenzie did an excellent job in this movie and proved that her performance in Leave no Trace was no accident. The supporting cast does reasonably well, and Scarlett Johanson is definitely a stand out in this film. The supporting cast did great with what they were given Rockwell, Allen, Wilson, and Merchant was merely great. My favorite character, though, was Yorki, played brilliantly by Archie Yates. I fell utterly in love with that character I wanted to give him a hug every single time he appeared on the screen.
Although the topic of this film is sensitive and serious, I believe Waiti masterfully mixed humor and seriousness. The film uses a specific song and some images of a musical group fandom and we see the parallels between being a music fanatic and a political fanatic. I admit that the first few minutes of this film I had my doubts and wasn’t quite sure where this film was leading, but within a few minutes the film takes off, and I enjoyed the ride. Jojo Rabbit showcases the events in World War II and gives it to us from the perspective of a child. Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) has only been exposed to becoming a member of the Nazi party, and by doing so, he’s been brainwashed. The film is a reminder that many fanatics become fanatics because that’s all they know and haven’t been exposed to other ideas. Everything begins to change for Jojo the moment he meets Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie), a Jew who has been living and hiding in the house. Jojo is face to face to what he’s been thought to be the enemy and doesn’t quite know how to respond. Elsa is living and hiding in the house because Rosie (Scarlett Johanson) has taken her in to care for her. Johanson’s Rosie is a character whose story represents what many were thinking at that time. She was against the war, after all, Jojo’s father wasn’t present because he was shipped off to war, and advocated for it to end. Two of my favorite scenes in this film involve her character, and I still think of those scenes day after day. We also see different actors like Rockwell and Allen, who are training the children how to kill to go to war. Ultimately we notice how one of those characters is merely complying with superior orders just so he can live day by day. Although this film is told from a child’s perspective, we see different characters with different backgrounds (ideologies) and their viewpoint of the war.
May I give a shoutout to the custom design in this film! It’s gorgeous! Many may question the decision to add humor to this film; after all, the topic is sensitive. My interpretation of the humor was it’s a translation (in a parallel manner) to the mentality and ultimate decision of Hitler ordering the genocide. What makes this film one of the best of this year is its relevance to today and, unfortunately, to the United States. It’s unfortunate that in 2019 we need a film like this to remind us that being a Nazi isn’t ok. However, this film ends with a message of hope that left me hopeful for the current situation we are living in. Kuddos to Taika Waiti who is a Jew and went ahead to portray the character, Hitler. Definitely, a film I highly recommend watching.
I give this film a 10 out of 10