Jojo Rabbit Review | Escape to the Movies

Written, directed by and co-starring New Zealand
comedy wunderkind Taika Waititi, JoJo Rabbit offers fans of the onetime cult-icon filmmaker
a chance to see what he plans to do with all the career-bulletproofing one gets from joining
the Marvel Cinematic Universe cool-kids club for a day job with Thor Ragnarok and the upcoming
Thor: Love and Thunder. The answer now turning out to be… whatever he damn well pleases. In this case whatever he damn well pleases turning out to be a whimsical absurdist coming of age comedy satire nestled somewhere between “Wes Anderson but
with human warmth” and “South Park but actually thoughtful” about a misunderstood little boy
and his imaginary best friend – Adolf Hitler. [record scratch] Really. Set in Germany during the last years
of WWII’s European Theater, “JoJo Rabbit” is the nickname of the main character, a precocious
10 year old living with his mother (played by a very committed Scarlet Johanssen) while
his father is off (supposedly but without much detail) “fighting in the war.” Bullied
by his peers and in want of a father figure, Jojo has gone absurdly over the top all-in
on the Hitler Youth propaganda foisted on his age group, angling to be the most ultra-committed
teachers pet of a Nazi despite having the exact wrong personality and skillset for the
gig and most of the adults around him finding the whole thing kind of exasperating or unpleasant by now (or worse.) So, he instead works out his issues conversing
with a “Der Furher” himself as a comic manifestation of JoJo’s own wished-for confidence, a kind of
naughty-boy anti-Jimminy Cricket or Ed if you like, encouraging his bolder (but dumber) actions as a 10 year
olds projection of what a “cool” adult would be. Waititi plays “Adolf” himself, and while it feels at first like exactly the kind of joke
you’d get from a lesser filmmaker (“Oh ha ha funny Hitler aren’t we edgy!”)
he so confidently skips past the “look at me!” part and gets straight to the point that
it works – ya’ know, said point being not so much to mock the idea of a kid having Hitler for an
imaginary friend but to explore the eternal question of how something like Nazism can take
over a society; in this case by focusing on how utterly childish the Hitlerian mythology
actually was. Ya’ know, for all the real-world horrors it wrought,
it can be easy to forget that Hitler and his inner circle yanked the “Aryan master race”
bullshit ya’ know, and his blustering speeches not so much from real history or politics, but from the juvenile
pop-mythology versions thereof; Hitler was obsessed with tacky heroic art and action-adventure
stories for teenagers and that’s where a lot of “Nazi superman” ideal largely came from – so of
course it’s a 10 year-old (and adult men with the unhinged mentalities still thereof) who’d brought
into it most unquestioningly. So yeah, it’s similar to it’s obvious ancestor
in Mel Brooks’ The Producers i.e. “point out that on top of being evil, the Nazis are also
stupid and absurd and should be made fun of;” but it’s also got a sober point to make about Nazism,
chauvinism and all the attendant “Strong Nationalist Masculinist Uberman Strong Daddy-Figure Take
Charge Pride” ideologies related thereto – that these are dumb power-fantasies for little
children and you should get out of them when you grow the hell up.
In this case, “growing the hell up” means learning that his mother has been sheltering a Jewish
refugee in their attic, a situation that turns into comic farce as JoJo attempts to
keep multiple secrets at once – trying to keep his mother from knowing that he knows,
working with “Adolf” to handle the situation (since he and imaginary Furher are both quite certain
that “the Jew girl” will use her evil powers to harm him if he’s not careful) and, yes…
ultimately coming to understand the real truth about the world around him up to and including
that the people he admires may not be very admirable, people he’d dismissed may actually
be quite heroic and, ultimately, that there are aspects of himself he may need to confront
and destroy to become the person he’s meant to be…
…which is the kind of setup that can sound pretentious and dreary until you remember
that “negative aspects of ones self” in this case literally means the Director doing an
exaggerated cartoon pantomime of Hitler. Now obviously, anything that can be shorthanded
as the “Calvin and Hobbes but Hitler” movie is not going to be for everyone, and I not going to
begrudge those who cant “get past” the visual of making Adolf look nonthreatening and whimsical
even if it is ultimately to make him look stupid; but even apart from the “hook” I found the
film to be at once daring and relentlessly charming, which is a difficult balance.
Roman Griffith Davis is excellent as JoJo, its it’s a very tough part for an actor of
any age and he carries it mightily. Often he is the only actor on screen and it’s really quite a thing. Johansen puts in great nuanced turn as his mother even as you can kind of see what her arc is going to be coming a long way out, Sam Rockwell always great but
puts in surprisingly powerful low-key work as a low-level functionary who’s kind
of an enigma right up until he’s not, Thomasin McKenzie is very affecting as the girl in
the wall and… yes, Taika himself hits exactly the right notes as Adolf – especially in the part where he kind of has to change suddenly over the course of the movie as JoJo’s understanding of what Hitler actually is evolve to complement it. JoJo Rabbit is a different, challenging, thought-provoking and ultimately very moving funny film. I give it an 8 out of 10, seek this one out.

100 thoughts on “Jojo Rabbit Review | Escape to the Movies

  1. No end credit music in this one. YouTube decided to start hitting us with copyright on it out of nowhere. New credits music coming next week! Thanks YouTube!

  2. "Obsessed with tacky heroic art and action adventure stories for teenagers
    Man better not point that out to the Captain Marvel Fanclub, they'll throw a fit about being compared in any way to the Nazi, after all they're "On the right side of history" as they try to dox anyone critical of Captain Marvle abusing her powers to break a guys arm and steal his bike because he hurt her feelings.

  3. I haven't seen the movie but it honestly sounds like the most genius idea for a film. How the fuck anyone comes up with that is beyond me

  4. Winter brings out the Oscar bait about WWII and childhood innocence. Of course the season would bring “How I lost my innocence to Hitler”. Alternate titles may include, “Winter Time For Hitler”.

  5. Its really scary that the Nazis started small with not quite saying other people are 100% bad just more likely to be bad and not to treat the bad but always watch your back. And it just got worse and worse from there. I say that it's scary cause I see it right here I America from some lets say intitled groups. Stuff like saying that are to be believed no matter what and demanding to be included in things that don't care about in the first place. I'm not going to bother typing it out but there's around 40 seconds of this review that if you just change out the group and leader name that it works perfect.

  6. you know what bob, far more fair than i could have dreamed. I mean i could talk about the irony of "Growing up" from a man who lives in whimsy, but I'm gonna let you have this one.

  7. I want to see this so bad but no where wants to put this movie in theaters near me, seriously one within a hundred miles the website itself says the second closes one is Cincinnati Ohio over 120 miles away

  8. This really captured my feelings on the film and added some points there of. Taika has a skill at making unpretentious films with emotional depth consistently. It’s due to his recurring theme of happy sad I think. A theme that’s strongest in this film. “Wes but with humanity” hit the nail on the head for a lot of people I think. But if you want to see how the themes in this film work with his discography look up his first film Two Cars One Night.

  9. I'm definitely going to catch this movie. Taika Waititi is steadily becoming one of my favorite directors.

    As for YouTube/Google fucking over creators yet again, I hope a bull elephant visits each and every scumbag employee and shags them in front of their friends and family.

    Yeah, my sympathy well for those idiots is bone dry at this time.

  10. Is the writing still hack af though? I mean that's what I hate about Waiti's work. He defaults to hammy mugging, going for obvious punchlines, and straining his beats when he's clearly capable of better. It sucked in "What We Do in the Shadows," it sucked in "Thor: Ragnarok," and I don't hear anything to contradict my reservations here.

  11. I can't help but sigh at Bob throwing shade at South Park when he seemingly saw an opportunity out of the blue. He pretends not to get the term "far-left" yet the shiny bubble he's living in isn't starting to become apparent to him?

  12. I honestly wasn't a fan of Waititi's take on Thor. But this looks interesting. I'm hoping it gets released in my area.

  13. Nazis will love this movie just because it's well shot and has Nazis in it. Stop making movies like this. It's just an opportunity for some dickhead to have new reaction images.

  14. Trick R' Treat, Hiel Hitler..*wink*..go home Hollywood, you're drunk. I wonder if this is banned in Scotland? Cause by their retarded ass logic this movie is ENDORSING fascism, remember they arrested and finned a youtube joke-man for teaching his dumb pug to lift his paw when hearing Hiel Hitler as a joke…joke..joke it don't matter, none of this matters, it's all a joke.

  15. What an awful movie reviewer.Maybe if he slowed down a bit there wouldn't be a cut every 5 seconds. Sounds like hes running out of breath.

  16. Soo… when do we get the "American" version of this where a young boy has an over the top and farcical Donald Trump as an imaginary friend?

  17. "Wes Anderson but with human warmth" you either haven't watched much Wes Anderson or just don't like his style but either way you've lost me

  18. I think that it'll be good if you folks get away with just the copyright strikes on the music, and don't get taken down entirely, which tends to happen when you mention the Na*GERMAN SOLDIERS* in a video. Best not speak ill of the Na*GERMAN SOLDIERS* on this platform! They get bullied enough, donchaknow.

  19. Honestly I loved the trailer and seeing taika waititi sold me on it ever harder. What we do in the Shadows was amazing and Ragnarok is up their with guardians as my favourite marvel movies. Getting the bob seal of approve is just icing on the cake. ❤️

  20. This reminds me of Moone Boy, an Irish comedy series with a very similar premise, except of course, ya know, not Hitler.

  21. 1:37 ..Super Ego. "Id" is the Animal inside not the mentor or Idealized self of a Roll model.
    for anyone else in the comment section. here is an example.
    Hulk = id ( the animal )
    Bruce banner = super ego (what the animal wants to be)
    Professor Hulk = ego ( because its the point in between the animal and what the animal wants to be.. basically what he truly is )

  22. 2:47 yeah..let make fun of does brainwashed kids.. im sure that will convince them that we are their friends and not the aholes the people brainwashing them tell them we are… y know keep them away from anything that would potentiality challenge their indoctrination .

  23. I liked this movie but did not like the ending with the token “good Nazi “ it spreads this fake myth that the At least some of the Nazis were ok people and excuses the fact the character is A NAZI. We don’t let this pass with any other group, we don’t have the Ok terrorist who sees he is a dick and try’s to make amends, or the Ok trump supporter who continues to be a supporter but “don’t worry I know I’m the bad guy!”, or the good confederate slave owning solider. The ending was childish and only softens Nazis. These aren’t, weren’t, or even will be good people if you supported the Nazis you were the bad guy and no media should try to make you look good. You deserve to be shot and your body buried in a shallow grave like the millions of Jews, gays, cripples, soviets, and other “undesirables” Nazi germany targeted.

  24. "Wes Anderson with human warmth,"
    so… Wes Anderson?
    I don't get the dig. You ever watch Isle of Dogs? Royal Tenenbaums? God, Grand Budapest Hotel?

  25. Oh, is Bob still bitching about South Park not catering to his taste? What a surprise this bloviating fat fuck cannot stand art that doesn't jive with his sensibilities… of course he liked Thor: Ragnarok, the most schizophrenic and disrespectful piece of shit movie I've EVER seen in the Marvel MCU now. Why does this hack still review movies on big outlets? Oh yeah, it's because he's a giant whale in a pond two thirds his own size. Nvm.

  26. Calling it now. JoJo Rabbit is going to win Best Picture. It has everything a nominee could hope to have while also being an excellent movie. I hope we can move past movies like Green Book winning for the sole purpose of reminding people that racism is bad. JoJo is a legitimately challenging movie that has all the feels. 5 bags of popcorn. Joe Bob says Check it out.

  27. This film was exceptional and one of the best I've seen this year. Watiti has great comedic vision and the cast is phenomenal. Jojo Rabbit was wierd , funny , heartwarming and heartbreaking and I think its definitely worth the watch.

  28. Good movie, bold idea but I feel that just calling Jojo's stand hitler is a bit lazy given the great amount of german songs they could have picked a name from.
    Still a worthy addition to the JoJo legacy

  29. “South Park, but with actual thoughtfulness”… Bob, I love you, and it’s no mystery that you’re Left-leaning (which I don’t mind, you’re still one of the best critics to ever do this job), but one thing the entirety of media seems basically settled on is the intelligence and continuing importance of South Park and its equal opportunity, no-holds-barred satire. Denigrating it as weak in the exact area it’s ubiquitously praised for seems like a reflexive, obligatory “people on my side don’t like South Park making fun of us, so now I have to dislike it despite its unanimous praise” thing.

  30. And the Oscar goes to……
    Best movie iv seen in years. If it doesn't get nominated for best picture it will be a travesty.

  31. This may be a mild spoiler, but one of the best parts of the film is how Jo Jo is gradually confronted with the reality of just how evil the Nazi party was, and how much misery they inflicted on millions of people. The twist at the end of Act 2 or just after the start of Act 3 in particular marks the point where Jo Jo can't be a child anymore. He can't go along with the lies and casually racist propaganda he's been force fed, and he can no longer idolize the monster behind the dopey micro mustache. And that turning point is much more clearly illustrated by the behavior of imaginary Hitler. The boy's imaginary fuhrer become mean, demanding, petty, and abusive. The Hitler scenes in the second half of this movie prove that Taika Waititi is not only a fantastic director, but also a great actor.

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