The imagination runs wild when Taika Waititi latest film Jojo Rabbit brings comedy to a time where laughter was not ideal in Nazi Germany during World War II. Waititi known for writing, directing and starring such great independent comedies such as What We Do in the Shadows and blockbuster hit Thor: Ragnarok, his latest film takes a new turn when he adapts a film about naive 10 year old boy living in Nazi Germany during the height of World War II.
The inspiration comes the Christine Leunens book Caging Skies, about a young boy who discovers his parents are hiding a Jewish girl in their home. Waititi gives in his own twist when he adds a more comedic taste to the film. When the film is described the first thing that comes to mind is sadness but Waititi really brings the comedy off the bat before the harsh realities set in. The film revolves around 10 year boy Johannes “Jojo” Betlzer who has a very obscure imaginary friend Adolf Hitler who is played by Waititi himself .
The film takes you on a journey on how a child is understanding the world when so much wrong is going on. Jojo’s one goal through the film is to become a Nazi and fight side by side his hero Hitler. Waititi finds a great way of showing that the making child Nazi soldiers is ridiculous idea that showed be laughed upon but was also a harsh reality that existed at the time.
Waititi portrayal of Hitler made him look like an over the top child who always is trying to get what he wants, something that Hollywood has famously shown in great films, such as The Producers and Downfall. When an accident occur in his first day of Nazi Camp Jojo discovers he does not have what takes to become a Nazi, but he does whatever it takes to support the cause. An unexpected turn comes into his life when he discovers that his mother played by Scarlett Johansson has been hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa, who is played by Thomasin McKenzie Jojo’s world has now changed forever when this girl changes his ideas and beliefs.
Jojo’s mind was taught to believe that Jewish people were the enemy and in his highly imaginative is taught that they are monsters. Jojo’s life is now changed forever when Elsa helped him discover that these thoughts he had against Jewish people was not right to believe.
The film was not all laughs when it comes down to the harsh realities of what was going on Waititi knows how to show emotion. Waititi who is known for his over the top comedic films has proven in the past that he could add emotion to his films like his 2016 film Hunt for the Wilderpeople. There’s something about his films where he brings the best out of young child actors.
Roman Griffin Davis who plays Jojo truly makes the viewer believe that he is naive child who is discovering new emotions. The emotions that his beliefs are changing and he will do anything to protect the young Jewish girl he is hiding.
Overall the film has a really good balance of heart and comedy that can make the audience both laugh and cry. For those still hoping to watch it Jojo Rabbit is still out in select theaters now.