Directed by: Taika Waititi
I was a little nervous to see Jojo Rabbit. I like Waititi especially as a writer but I happened to think no matter how entertaining Thor Ragnarok might have been it was all over the place and in the end everything was sacrificed at the alter of comedy.
So considering this was a World War II movie about the Nazis seen through the eyes of a fanatical little boy whose imaginary bestie is none other than Hitler and it was being billed as a
comedy no satire… I was unsure.
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
In the end I really liked Jojo Rabbit. The performances were excellent and even though I think the satire part didn’t work for me I still saw where Waititi was going with this and I was genuinely moved.
Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) very much wants to go fight the war and is swallowing the Nazi lies hook, line and sinker. His worldview is shook however when he learns his mother Rosie (an Oscar robbed Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl upstairs.
After a very well done first meeting in which she arrives like a monster and easily disarms him Jojo is smart enough not to want to see his mother get into the kind of trouble that will come and instead tells Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) she can tell him everything he needs to know about Jews.
Their conversations, as well as Elsa and Rosie’s talk about being a woman, are my favorite in the movie.
While I didn’t really care about Jojo’s first crush I liked the developing friendship and the brother- sister vibe. The moment with Stephen Merchant’s character where Sam Rockwell has the sisters passport and Elsa is trying to pass as the sister is the most tense in the film.
I thought all the characters were well acted. Rebel Wilson’s part is the most caricatured (besides Hitler but I’m not really counting him cause he’s imaginary) and while I’m thrilled to see Alfie Allen working I wish he had more of a role. (I like to tell myself Allen is more of a pick and choose the best projects rather than simply not getting the Hollywood work that quite frankly some of his less talented Thrones co-stars get at the drop of a hat.)
Sam Rockwell’s Colonel K was interesting. A part of the time I got the impression he was supposed to be one of those satirical characters but Rockwell gives him more nuance and plays him with a world-weariness. He knows where this is going by the point we join him.
It also struck me that when he showed up at the house to talk to Jojo and wound up helping him and Elsa- at that point he likely knew about Rosie.
And it was a nice touch too just see her shoes and never actually see her face when she was hung. I thought it was a good call back to the moment where Jojo is distracted and she makes him look at the hanging people versus Jojo actually sitting with his mother unmoving for hours after she’s been hung.
The responses are somewhat interesting to. Because I can totally understand why some people wouldn’t like this or think that it wasn’t a good idea. Especially considering some of the comments I’ve read. But don’t get your history from a movie people that’s all I can say to that.
In the end Jojo Rabbit was a good film. I don’t think it worked in the way Taika Waititi might have wanted it to, at least for me, but in the end the acting and some nice directing choices moved me more than I thought the film would. It’s the first in a while where I really wanted to know what happened to Jojo and Elsa and I’m glad I gave it a go.