“Jojo Rabbit”, the story of an indoctrinated boy in Germany during World War II, is a truly unique film that manages to take it’s audience through a story that teaches understanding and love with some pretty wicked laughs also thrown into the mix.
We meet Johannes (Roman Davis) or “Jojo”, as he embarks on the journey of becoming a Nazi soldier at the same time that Allied forces are pushing into Germany to end the war. Jojo dreams of serving Adolf Hitler, and the hateful dictator has him as an imaginary friend, this while going through his training and pushing back at his mother (played by Scarlet Johannson) and her teachings of kindness. When he finds a young Jewish girl hiding in his attic, he begins to learn more about her experiences and the truth about who he’s trying to be.
What makes “Jojo Rabbit” work so well is that it manages to introduce wild humor one moment, terrible loss the next, and true heartwarming storytelling not long after. We’re laughing but we never lose perspective of how awful war can truly be.
Director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) continues his streak of effective visual presentation with Jojo’s journey giving us plenty of striking locations and engaging camera work to look at. The supporting cast is first class with Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Stephen Merchant all owning the screen when their supposed to.
If I had to point out a negative, I would have to say that things do tend to get silly at times but I believe the humor works. It’s also important for potential viewers to know that the Nazi way is never put in a position that portrays it as anything but the evil that it truly was. We’re always laughing at them and their blind loyalty.
“Jojo Rabbit” is an excellent film and one that is worth your time. I’m glad it finally made it to Orlando.
Running time: 1hr 48 minutes.