Who knew the movie with the most heart this year would deal with children wanting to be Natzi.
A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.
Somewhere out there Hitler is rolling in his grave, due to laughing so hard. The reason? Taika Waititi’s latest comedy satire about young boys waning to join the ranks of Hitler’s army all while discovering there is way more to life than simply becoming at Natzi. Coming off the massive success of Thor: Ragnorok, Taika is trading in his cape for a swastika. A film about love, friendship, forming new and unique bonds and most importantly, never judging a book by its cover.
Jojo is a ten year old boy who is growing up in Germany. Unlike most little boys, who enjoy climbing trees, being with friends and all around just being a kid, Jojo takes life pretty serious. He has mission, become Hitler’s right hand man, his best friend, he wants to do something to gain the respect from their “great leader.” When he attends a Natzi Boy Scouts kind of camp and injures himself, he finds himself lonely and disfigured. Ashamed of his new looks, he confides in the comfort of his own home, where his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) a young Jewish runaway. Jojo quickly becomes very conflicted with his feelings, because everything he has ever learned about Jewish people has not been pleasant, yet here sits this girl he befriends almost immediately. He learns that his mother is one of the few true good people in his life and has a hard time understanding why she doesn’t support their country in the war. They become closer than ever, once Jojo finally understands his mother’s intentions and realizes how special she is.
Jojo takes up a job helping his former instructor Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) do things all around their little town. They also form a bond, as Jojo who’s father is away, sees him as a father figure and goes to him for advice. Sam Rockwell actually doesn’t play a crazy racist in a movie for once! More of a low-key flamboyant army Captain, he also much like Jojo’s mother has a kind heart. He just doesn’t show it. He wants what’s best for Jojo and tries to guide him towards being just a regular ten-year-old kid. They end up sharing a few heartfelt moments together, one in particular at the end of the film where you truly see the good in the Captain, and was always looking out for Jojo. For a movie I found to be so funny, the most I’ve laughed at a movie in 2019, it certainly has some touching moments, and has one of the biggest 180 emotional turns I can remember in a movie. Things go from so happy and delightful to gut-wrenching in about 5 seconds, it was almost hard to watch.
Obviously most of the laughs are coming from the man himself, the director and the stand out performance of the film, Taika. He’s playing Hitler, but just serves has Jojo’s imaginary friend, so the things that happen between them, well, you can imagine. Every time he was on screen, you’re laughing, even if he’s not talking, one scene in general when he’s in a swimming pool. Just the facial expressions alone are making the audience giggle. The back and forth that occurs between Jojo and his mind Hitler comes to a pretty epic conclusion. At times, this can deal with some serious issues, but it’s a satire, and you also have moments where ten year olds are carrying rocket launchers around, so big, it takes two of them to move it. Another standout is Jojo’s best friend, well second best friend next to Hitler obviously is Yorki (Archie Yates) who almost steals every scene he is in. Just a loveable character. It’s when they’re together you realize just how silly this whole movie can be and even though they are suppose to be Natzi, they are just goody ten year old kids, who will believe anything they hear.
I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have high hopes for this, the trailers were just okay, and I wasn’t super interested in seeing it, but boy was I wrong. Jojo Rabbit blew me away, and without doubt enters my top 5 films of the year so far. The humour, the heart and the laughs is enough for anyone. If you like Taika’s brand of comedy and want to see Hitler act like an idiot then this movie will be for you. Top notch performances all-around, a great story and an even better message, this film can pack a punch emotionally at times, and have you howling in the very next scene. Jojo Rabbit is a must see.
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Jojo Rabbit = 84/100