A Movie Review of Jojo Rabbit

“Jojo Rabbit” is a satirical comedy that projects an anti-hate message to its audience in a funny but justly uncomfortable way. The film is an adaptation done by Taika Waititi of the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. Waititi not only directed the film, but he also took on the role of the Nazi obsessed Jojo’s imaginary version of Adolf Hitler. I’ll be discussing the plot of the story as well as giving my opinion of the film in this article, so if you’re not ready for any spoilers you may want to skip to the end. 

The story revolves around the ten year old Jojo in Nazi Germany towards the end of World War Two. Jojo is blindly alegent to the Nazi party and claims he will do anything to support their cause. Unfortunately, this is tested in a scene where some of the older children also attending the Nazi training camp he’s at, ask him to kill a rabbit to prove that he’s soldier enough to fight for Germany. Jojo finds himself unable to do this and because of that is given the nickname Jojo Rabbit. He is given a pep-talk by his fictitious manifestation of Hitler and proceeds to try and redeem himself with an exercise using a hand grenade. In a sort of poetic justice he accidentally blows himself up and ends up being kicked out of the training camp due to his injuries. 

While Jojo is sent away from the camp to recover he’s found himself with a lot more time at home, during which he hears sounds coming from the attic. He eventually snoops around and finds a girl living in the walls of his house, this girl being a young Jew hiding from the Nazis. Of course this becomes a problem because Jojo is still very blindly alegant to the Nazi party. He and the girl, Elsa, come to a sort of agreement where he won’t out her and she won’t tell his mother he knows she’s there. His mother having been a part of the resistance and the one harboring Elsa all along. Jojo agrees because if he tells the other Nazis about Elsa they would kill his mother and possibly him for being harboring a Jew. 

As the story progresses, we see Jojo and Elsa becoming closer to one another as he comes to her demanding she tell him all the secrets of the Jews so he could write an exposé. As they spend more time together Jojo comes to learn that the Jewish people aren’t at all like what he had been taught to believe. He even finds himself developing a crush on Elsa and rethinking his views. This becomes really apparent towards the end of the film when Jojo’s mother is killed for being a part of the resistance and Elsa becomes the only person that Jojo can come to rely on. At the end of the movie when the war is over, we also see that Jojo is so changed that he kicks his imaginary vision of Hitler through the window, removing him from his life for good.

All in all, the film was a really interesting piece. I found it very well done for the subject matter, it very rightfully so made the audience uncomfortable at times because of the mixture in comedy and subject. The things that happened during that time were horrible and not meant to be taken lightly, but the film showed some of the horrible things that people actually believed and showed how dumb those ideas actualy are. Something that I find we can still use today, looking past the things you perceive to be true in order to find the actual truth about people is a lesson that everyone needs. That being said I really did enjoy the film, I did find it to seem to go on just a tad too long in some parts, but overall I thought it was a good movie.