TIFF19: Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit (2019) 1h 48min | Comedy, Drama, War | 18 October 2019 (USA) Summary: A young boy in Hitler's army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.
Countries: Germany, USALanguages: English

A Hitler Youth discovers that his mother has been sheltering a Jewish girl in Jojo Rabbit. Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) is a ten-year-old member of the Hitler Youth, who imagines that he is best friends with Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi). Injured in a grenade accident during training camp, Jojo is left to stay at home with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) and do jobs around town for Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell). One day, Jojo discovers a Jewish girl named Elsa Korr (Thomasin McKenzie) hiding in his attic and he is left conflicted about whether he should turn her in or help her out.

Jojo Rabbit is an “anti-hate satire” from writer/director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows), based on the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. The film is set during the final days of World War II and focuses on Jojo Betzler, a ten-year-old who is a proud member of the Hitler Youth, despite a somewhat cowardly nature that earns him the nickname “Jojo Rabbit.” Jojo’s fanatical beliefs are challenged when he finds Elsa Korr hiding in his attic and discovers that she is nothing like what he has been taught Jews were.

Jojo Rabbit

Following in the steps of films, such as Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator and Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, Taika Waititi bravely presents a satirical film about World War II and the Holocaust. At the start of Jojo Rabbit, I was questioning whether it is appropriate to laugh at a joke about the pronunciation of “Heil Hitler,” but by the end, I was fully emotionally invested in the story. I should also note that Jojo Rabbit has an excellent supporting performance by Scarlett Johansson, which is sure going to elicit some tears. Altogether, Jojo Rabbit is the anti-hate satire we need right now.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).