You could almost be certain that pitching a film about a boy growing up in Nazi Germany, who has an imaginary friend of Adolf Hitler, was about as bad as someone pitching a reimagined version of Hogan’s Heroes. You have to hand it to Taika Waititi and making Jojo Rabbit a movie that focuses a lot on a boy that believes in the Nazi propaganda into a coming of age story about a boy that fights his beliefs against his heart.
Knowing it was marketed as a comedy, but a dark comedy, it was concerning given how dark it could be. However, Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is the star of this movie. He is a kid that believes in the Nazi objective and his friend Yorki (Archie Yates) steal the show in their reactions to the things going on around them. Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) challenges Jojo’s belief structure by mocking him about her Jewish nationality. Yet, the blossoming of their friendship begins to challenge what Hitler keeps telling him.
The supporting cast is amazing in their roles. Scarlett Johansson gives a great performance of a single woman trying to raise her son in Nazi Germany. Trying to raise her son with good values, but keeping a deep secret. Taika Waititi is hilarious as Adolf Hitler. When Jojo begins to struggle with his feelings Adolf keeps him in check, and it is hilarious. Sam Rockwell (Captain Klenzendorf) is the heart of the cast. He has his own secrets but stands up for the cause. While he doesn’t seem to like Jojo, he grows to look after him as if it is his responsibility. Rebel Wilson (Fraulein Rahm) is the random gossip that brings more laughs to the film.
As the film reaches its mid-point, Jojo must come to confront his blind nationalism as it begins to interfere with his family and love. The film is completely relevant today as ever. The mockery of the Nazi nationalism allows people to laugh in parts that could be considered uneasy. For me, the film was beautiful in cinematography, script, music, and performances. Waititi has come off directing films for Marvel and an episode of The Mandalorian. I eagerly await his next non-franchise film.
Rating: 4 stars