Monday, November 4, 2019

Review: Jojo Rabbit

Release date: November 8, 2019
Running time: 108 minutes
Starring:  Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson

What happens when you take one part coming of age tale, one part irreverant comedy, and one part political commentary and blend it all together into a strange, but beautiful film?  You get one of the most entertaining movies of the year!  Young Jojo (Davis) is a 10 year old boy growing up in wartime Nazi Germany.  He is trying his hardest to find his place in life, trying to be a good Nazi while helping his family during this difficult time.  Luckily, he has the help of his imaginary friend, a hilarious Adolf Hitler (Waititi).

Given the premise of the film--a young boy growing up in Nazi Germany and trying to become a Nazi--there was a risk that the content and comedy of this film would just fall flat.  But luckily, this film handles Nazi Germany with the right irreverent attitude to offset some of the serious issues that the film addresses.  Although Jojo is trying to impress his Nazi peers, he also has enough innocence of youth to keep the film lighthearted.  Some of his attempts at helping the cause are really funny to watch, and his childish views on some of the heavier Nazi issues add some levity to the film.  His imaginary Hitler friend comes and goes as needed and provides plenty of comic relief with his ridiculous antics.  

The writing is what sets this apart, with enough sharp comedy and childlike innocence to keep the film sharp and clever.  There is plenty of heavy, uncomfortable content in the movie--from racism to the ravages of war to the witch hunt that occurred towards the end of Nazi Germany--that the film had to take a ridiculous tone to make this succeed, and succeed it does.  On top of the perfect tone, the film has a stellar cast to play key roles in this strangely humorous Nazi Germany.  Sam Rockwell is particularly enjoyable as a mid level Nazi officer and Scarlett Johansson is wonderful as Jojo's mother.  It really is a lovable cast with plenty of great cameos throughout the film. 

Jojo Rabbit is a ridiculous, irreverent, lighthearted film that tackles some difficult issues with humor and a childlike innocence.  It is a film that is so unique and entertaining that it has to be seen to be believed.

Watch it

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