JOJO RABBIT (2019) – My rating: 9.7/10

Jojo Rabbit is a comedy-drama written and directed by Taika Waititi and is based on Christine Leunens’s book, Caging Skies. The title character, Jojo Rabbit, is a ten-year-old who lives in Nazi Germany nearing the end of WWII. Jojo has created an imaginary friend, who happens to be his version of Adolf Hitler. After the Academy Awards were announced, Jojo Rabbit was re-featured at many major theaters — I’m more than ecstatic for that decision. I’m just going to say, WOW!

Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) is a ten-year-old boy living in Nazi Germany during World War II with his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson). His absent father is supposedly serving on the Italian Front but has lost all contact with his family. Jojo’s older sister Inge has recently died of influenza. The nationalistic Jojo often talks with his imaginary friend, a supportive but childish version of Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi). Jojo and his best friend Yorki (Archie Yates) attend a Deutsches Jungvolk Hitler Youth training camp, run by the one-eyed Wehrmacht Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell). When Jojo is ordered to kill a rabbit by one of the older Youth members, he tries to release it and runs off crying. After a pep talk from his imaginary friend, Jojo returns and throws a Stielhandgranate without permission. It bounces off a tree and explodes at his feet, leaving him with facial scars and a slight limp. After Jojo recovers, Rosie asks Klenzendorf, who was demoted after the incident, to make her son feel included despite his injuries. Jojo had been exempt from field training and placed in the back office where he performed small tasks such as spreading propaganda leaflets throughout the town, as well as collecting scrap metal for the war effort. Alone at home one day, Jojo discovers a teenage girl who was his late sister’s former classmate, Elsa Korr (Thomasin McKenzie), living upstairs.

I thought Jojo Rabbit was a children’s film and didn’t bother to see it. Not only is Jojo Rabbit not strictly a children’s flick, but it is also an anti-Hitler Satire, like none I’ve ever seen. There are so many surprises in this film, I’m reluctant to tell any parts of the story, as it may spoil it for you. Out of the eight other movies nominated for best picture Oscar, Jojo Rabbit is my pick. It’s really that good. Between Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waiti, Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell, this film shows how brilliantly outstanding these actors are. The scenery allowed me to feel the effects of war-torn Germany. By no means, was Jojo Rabbit a comedy, assassinations of their citizens, the public hangings of bodies, bombs constantly exploding and routine inspections of neighborhood homes for hidden Jews are just some of what reminded the audience of the seriousness, sadness and horrific acts of the holocaust. As of January 20, 2020, Jojo Rabbit has grossed $23.9M, US and Canada, $20M internationally, for a worldwide total of $43.9M. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 80% based on 361 reviews, with an average rating of 7.52/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “Jojo Rabbit’s blend of irreverent humor and serious ideas definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste—but either way, this anti-hate satire is audacious to a fault. Find out who is living upstairs and what happens to Jojo’s commitment to being a Nazi. I promise you will not like Jojo Rabbit in the beginning but by the end, you will love it. Brilliantly presented, you’ve not seen anything like this movie. Check It Out!

[JOJO RABBIT is Oscar-nominated for BEST: Picture, Supporting Actress, Costume Design, Film Editing, Production Design and Adapted Screenplay — TOTALLING 6 OSCAR NOMINATIONS]

 

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