For those who don’t know the director of Jojo Rabbit, it is directed by Taika Waititi, who has slowly become a very well-known figure in Hollywood thankJos to his recent films such as Hunt for the Wilder People and Thor: Ragnarok. When I first heard about this project, I was very optimistic yet very skeptical due to the fact the film involves Nazis and it is labeled as a comedy. The other day I was talking to my grandmother about this film and while describing the plot I kept telling her “bear with me.” So bear with me as I describe to you what this is about and tell you why this film deserves a watch.
Taking place in Nazi Germany during the peak of World War II, we open Jojo Rabbit with Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), a ten year boy who wants to be a proud Nazi and prove his loyalty attending a Hitler Youth training camp. Again, bear with me. While attending this camp, Jojo gets involved in an accident that hinders him from participating in camp activities. After that he’s forced to spend most of his time at home where he discovers that his mom Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is secretly hiding a young Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) and his world is turned upside down. From there, JoJo tries to learn more about this mysterious girl while consulting with his, again… bear with me, imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (played by the director Taika Waititi).
Are you still there? Good. The reason I say that is because Jojo Rabbit’s premise is a tough sell to people. But I’m here to tell you that, despite this being a comedy about Nazis, it’s really a great coming-of-age story that people should watch.
Yes, almost everyone in Jojo Rabbit is portraying a Nazi, but Waititi doesn’t show them in a positive light. For example, he portrays Hitler here as a narcissistic moron with the mentality of a little kid which makes sense because here he’s a figment of Jojo’s imagination. He’s played that way as a coping mechanism for Jojo because near the beginning of the film he’s unsure if he can be the best Nazi he could be. Hitler’s presence weakens, however, as soon as Elsa comes into the picture. When Elsa becomes more of a prominent figure, JoJo becomes more of a likable character and starts learning about someone’s background through conversation rather than fear and propaganda. Anyone who has seen the previews for this can see this revelation coming, but the way it’s handled was touching and heartwarming to see.
If there’s one person that I can say I related the to most in Jojo Rabbit was Rosie. The Bible makes numerous references to refugees (Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Galatians to name a few) and as Christians we are called to help those in need seeking refuge. Scarlett Johansson‘s character was someone who fulfilled that Biblical call. While she is German and loves her country, she doesn’t directly follow the ideology of the Nazi regime. Instead she takes a huge risk and shelters a Jewish girl who soon becomes the catalyst for Jojo’s turn of events.
In the end, Jojo Rabbit is about learning from other people and helping them in their time of need, which is something we Christians can all relate to. Hopefully this review will persuade you to give this a viewing if you weren’t convinced before hand. Like I said, this movie is a tough sell. I deeply enjoyed watching this when I first saw it a few months back and hopefully I can find the time to watch it again when it comes out in home release soon.