Jojo Rabbit tells the tale of a young Hitler Youth named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), who wishes to join the Nazi soldiers at war and become part of Hitler’s guard. He also has an imaginary friend named Adolf (Taika Waititi) who encourages Jojo on his quest. However, due to an injury at camp, he returns home early and discovers that his mother (Scarlet Johanson) is hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie). At a stalemate with each other, Jojo learns that the information he’s been given about Jews was wrong, causing him to rethink his loyalties and what he believes is right.
All the performances given in this film work both comedically and dramatically. Taika Waititi’s portrayal of Adolf was the most impressive as it balances both comedy and drama in a really effective way. He starts out incredibly funny, like all of his performances, but as Jojo begins to lean away from Nazi ideology, he leans more into the real life Adolf Hitler’s mannerisms, shouting more and taking on a more authoritative demeanor. It’s a synecdoche of the entire film, representing the tonal balance Waititi is attempting. Scarlet Johanson also impresses, giving a warm, life loving presence, embodying Waititi’s thesis statement that life is precious and worth celebrating. Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie ultimately ground the film with their performances. McKenzie delivers a performance with resilience, wit, and a sense of barely holding on. Davis acts as the perfect POV character as we see the world of Nazi Germany through a boy’s eyes and how his new experiences forge him into the person he will become, both growing and gaining something that was once thought lost.
It’s built on a society of lies and disinformation in order to insight blind hatred. One brilliant sequence that beautifully illustrates this is the use of archive footage of Hitler and his rallies as the Beatles song “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is sung in German plays, showing the fanaticism of Hitler as a celebrity with a fanaticism similar to the Beatles. The Hitler Youth Camp also illustrates this point, not only showing the radicalization of young children, but also showing the childishness of the Nazi ideology, but is then turned on its head as the climax shows the desperation to throw bodies at their enemies, forcing the Hitler Youths inhabiting the roles of soldiers. The image is satirical and silly, but Waititi’s framing of this idea punches you in the gut as you see Jojo’s dream become a reality, but is now horrified due to his new perspective
“Jojo Rabbit.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 24 Oct. 2019, www.imdb.com/title/tt2584384/.
Wanshel, Elyse. “'Joker' Director Todd Phillips Said He Left Comedy Because Of 'Woke Culture'.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 2 Oct. 2019, www.huffpost.com/entry/joker-director-todd-phillips-woke-culture_n_5d94e1c2e4b0019647b28793?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAABjq7Zp4gRsO99LrfM9KU7eiMQ1oTEQswMJXMgWJp2P7ULUVXINHNdSo72JPRCs-zfvso_Zlc8u1V8VC_8DqiOxDc0MTney8fEURff6Fapz9CFFIoWzmi1FwXpCaVwliIbvFnvjZdBsEMQ3vjpFfLBIC4YuV2izOVQ7m9wJ9OcYo.