What’s the story?
During World War II, a 10-year-old boy Jojo Betzler joins the Hitler Youth training camp in the hopes of one day becoming Hitler’s personal guard. He also has an imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, who constantly spoon-feeds him hatred for the Jews.
When Jojo cannot kill a rabbit during a training exercise, his fellows make fun of him and nickname him “Jojo rabbit”. To prove that he is a true Nazi, he attempts to throw a grenade that blows up at his own feet and he is declared not fit for field duty. Jojo’s mother Rosie secretly works with the resistance and she is hiding a young Jewish girl, Elsa, in her attic.
When Jojo discovers Elsa, he wants to turn her in but decides otherwise considering that his mother would also get in trouble for this. Meanwhile, the Gestapo starts to suspect Rosie and come to search the house but Elsa impersonates Jojo’s dead sister and they buy the story. Following the advice of his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, Jojo decides to talk to Elsa and get information about Jews and their secrets; but instead, a friendship starts to grow between them. Jojo slowly realizes that everything he had been taught against the Jews at school is nothing but lies to turn him into another blind nationalist.
Is it any good?
This movie is not a typical gloomy World War story; Taika Watiti, the writer and director of Jojo’s Rabbit, uses comedy and satire as a tool to showcase how the society has a role in brainwashing young kids to follow the system and even give up their lives for the cause. Even though it is a comedy film, the jokes hold powerful and moving messages that can be applied to the modern world as well. As World War II continues, Jojo is seen fighting an inner battle with himself. The film quickly shifts from being effortlessly funny and hopeful to being heartbreakingly sad.
Waititi himself plays the role of Jojo’s imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, who is nothing like the actual Adolf Hitler. It is a perfect illusion of a dictator in the eyes of a young fanatic kid: Hitler jumping around and giving daily pep talks to boost up his morale. Scarlett Johansson as Rosie portrays the role of a hopeful mother and a sympathetic human being who is compensating the loss of her own daughter by saving a young Jewish girl. The cast is amazing and do justice to a beautifully written script that can only be defined as a masterpiece since it is a war movie that does not focus on the war itself, but rather the social and psychological issues arising with it.
Jojo Rabbit is a movie that raises a satirical voice against the system by portraying war from the perspective of a 10-year-old boy, who is torn between understanding the reality and believing the lies that are spoon-fed to him by the system. With a spectacular cast, the movie makes use of dark humor to make you laugh all while sending a powerful message to its viewers about the effect of dictatorship on the minds of young children who are just trying to fit in. It is a story about breaking the barriers around your mind and understanding that living with hatred is not living.