Even though it was hard to find a theater near me to watch this movie, it was well worth the hour drive to see Taika Waititi’s latest film, Jojo Rabbit. While I can see this movie being very divisive an some may hate it. But to me, the seamless blend of serious tones of social commentary but hilarious comedy, Jojo Rabbit shines as one of the best movies of the year.
The movie follows a young German boy, Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) in his journey of being a Nazi during times of World War II, while also housing a Jewish person, Elsa Korr (Thomasin McKenzie), in their house without Germany knowing. While Jojo knows that housing Jewish people is illegal in Nazi Germany, he soon realizes that Jewish people are people too.
The movie, which deals with very heavy topics like blind patriotism and blatant racism, is surprisingly funny. Taika Waititi’s rendition of Hitler was hilarious, degrading Hitler to a goofy imaginary friend to Jojo. Some of the stuff he did with the character was so ridiculous that you kind of forget you’re watching a movie that deals with such sad topics. There were plenty of other hilarious performances as well, especially Sam Rockwell as Captain Klenzendorf. Rockwell played a goofy soldier who constantly kept getting demoted because of dumb stuff that kept happening.
While the humor was great in Jojo Rabbit, it was the heart and emotion that made this such a terrific movie. Jojo (Davis) knows that Jewish people aren’t bad people, but he is taught from a young age to hate them. When Jojo learns a Jewish person, Elsa (McKenzie), is living in his attic, he is very on-guard at first when he meets her. After years of being taught to hate these people, he slowly begins to realize that Elsa is everything Jojo needs in his life, family. While he always had his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), he never had someone he could tell everything to. Davis and McKenzie’s scenes were easily the best part of the movie to me. What started out as a very tense relationship that could collapse at any moment, slowly turned into a brother and a sister-type of relationship where they would do anything for each other. They loved each other for who they were, and it was great to watch their relationship change over the course of two hours. It was easily the best part of the movie.
While I can see someone hating this type of movie, it’s very much like Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom for comparison, I happened to love every minute of this movie. The comedy won’t be for everyone. But from the heart it had, which was a ton, to the humor that helped keep the movie light on its feet, Jojo Rabbit was one of the best movies I have seen this year, and I loved every minute of it.