Every year moviegoers are bombarded with World War II films. All across the globe, moviemakers are piecing together their vision of their epic pieces that focus on some niche nuanced film about the struggles of the people of such an oppressing and tragic time that was so focused on human slaughter. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, some of them funny, and some of them are serious. None of them are Jojo Rabbit.
This past Thanksgiving weekend, I managed to make my way to the theater and catch a showing of Jojo Rabbit. It exceeded any and all of my own expectations where writer-Director Taika Waititi (Boy, Thor Ragnarok) delivered a unique vision on the WWII genre that stirred up all sorts of emotions in me and the many moviegoers that I shared the theater with.
Primarily a black comedy filled to the brim with satire, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit tells the story of Jojo Betzler, a Hitler fanatic and youth who discovers that his mother has been sheltering a young Jewish girl named Elsa in the walls of their home. While being pressured by his imaginary friend Hitler (Waititi), Jojo must confront his views of the Nazi’s he loves and the war he respects while considering the life of the girl whose fate is ultimately in his hands.
Ever since I saw the 2010 New Zealand film ‘Boy’, I knew that Taika Waititi was a genius. From What We Do in the Shadows to Thor Ragnarok, Waititi has proven time and again that he has a deep understanding of a higher level of comedy while demonstrating an even deeper comprehension of storytelling and writing that will forever immortalize him in the textbooks of how to successfully write, direct, and star in your own movie.
Roman Griffin Davis, the young boy in the titular role delivered a spectacular performance that puts him right up there with the children from Stranger Things (season one). Accompanying Davis is the always hilarious Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, and the incredible Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson. Game of Thrones actor Alfie Allen also appears in the film with a notable performance. Each of these cast members come together so perfectly to make you think, laugh, cry and really show you what a performance needs to be in order to tick off every single box for a wonderful performance that can truly be considered art.
Jojo Rabbit made me laugh throughout the film, not only from Davis’ comedic timing but both Rockwell’s and Wilson’s performances and joke delivery. Johansson’s role as Jojo’s mother left me wanting from the mother of my own that I wish I had, which would be hard to do in the 1940s during a time of desperation and war.
I felt for Jojo, I felt for Elsa, and I felt for each and every character on the screen. They all touched my heart in a way that I appreciated and it could not have been done without the masterful writing of Taika Waititi.