A lonely little Nazi discovers that those he has been taught to hate may actually save him from growing isolation.
Living in the era of Adolph Hitler’s Germany, a young but proud Nazi named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is fighting to become a soldier for Hitler, his close imaginary companion as well as the totalitarian leader of the country. Despite Jojo’s patriotic determination, he slowly learns that the life his single mother leads may trump his future goals.
Jojo Rabbit is a war drama with undeniable touches of comedy, entirely unsurprising as it was directed by comedic superstar Taika Waititi. In the film, a 10-year-old boy is introduced as being quite chummy with Adolph Hitler (Taika Waititi) in a small German apartment. Early on in the film’s progression, we learn that this little Adolph-Hitler-Loving-Nazi is named Jojo, an aspiring Nazi soldier. We also learn that Hitler is his imaginary friend who acts as Nazi propoganda within the little boy’s mind. As Jojo begins a Nazi training camp, it becomes clear to Jojo, his feminine camp leader Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and his Nazi companion Yorki (Archie Yates) that becoming a Nazi soldier will not work for the soft-hearted child who could not even wring the neck of a rabbit, earning him his film-title nickname Jojo Rabbit. He returns home from camp disheartened at his failure.
However, his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is determined to make her son continue to feel the Nazi pride he so wished to embrace as a soldier, demanding Captain Klenzendorf find him some form of work. Jojo begins pasting Nazi propoganda posters throughout the city, but as his only friend moves onto his new position and teasing ensues from those who know of Jojo’s failure, he becomes lonely and isolated. Returning home one day with his head hung in sadness, he discovers something upstairs that he could have never imagined: a Jew named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) who his mother has been hiding within their walls.
Upon this shocking discovery, the beauty of the film unfolds with heart wrenching connection and warm moments of laughter. As Jojo discovers Elsa, he at first wishes to expose all of the stereotypes and menacing details about Jewish people that the Nazi party has implemented in the minds of the German population. Upon first meeting, Jojo displays all of the prejudice and Nazi pride one would need when encountering such a “despicable species.” However, despite this hatred, Jojo cannot stop thinking of the girl nor of Rosie who, to Jojo’s surprise and disappointment, does not share the sentiment of the Nazi party.
This film provides an absolutely fantastic message of the way that prejudice and hatred can change when following your heart as opposed to implemented propaganda. As Jojo begins to know Elsa, he can see with his own eyes that she does not spew venom, contort like a vicious beast or sleep upside down like a bat — she is actually warm, kind, and quite beautiful. Although first taken aback by Rosie’s anti-Nazi actions, Jojo begins to see a different life through his mother and the hidden Jewish girl’s eyes. He starts to see how a Jew is simply a human being, lonely and afraid, just like Jojo himself. As Jojo suffers from a devastating loss, Elsa steps forward to bring him comfort, support, and the human connection he so desperately needs.
In watching this film, we are opened up to the idea of connecting with people outside of our comfort zones and embracing a willingness to learn about those we do not understand. With racism still rampant throughout many countries, this is a sentiment that should continue to ring true within the hearts of people around the world. Toward the end of the film, Jojo finally rids himself of his imaginary friend Hitler, eliminating the biased, prejudiced, hateful propaganda that has filled his head for his entire childhood once and for all. This scene gives visual representation of rejecting the biases we have within ourselves and instead choosing to understand those around us and view all people as deserving of respect. Jojo Rabbit is a film that pokes fun at the blind judgment of individuals and urges all viewers to keep their minds open, fight for what is truly right, and never turn their backs on any human being. When one allows the warmth of acceptance to open their hearts, not even Adolph Hitler can continue to churn hate throughout one’s life.
Release Date: November 8, 2019
Cast: Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Sam Rockwell, Archie Yates, Stephen Merchant, Rebel Wilson.
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Taika Waititi
Genre: War, Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 108 minutes
Official Website: Jojo Rabbit
Official Social Media Pages:
IMDB Page: Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Wiki Link: Jojo Rabbit
Kira Proctor | Writing Contributor
B.A. | Communications | UCLA
Kira, named after the fairy from The Dark Crystal, is a second-year transfer at UCLA graduating with a B.A. in Communication. Like her namesake, she grew up with her mind in a fantasy world. Indulging in whimsical films (preferably animated), television, novels and music that transports oneself, she is passionate about the entertainment industry creating imaginary spaces for all to visit that let everyday stressors melt away. With a particular interest in storytelling and live performances, she has interned for companies such as TEDx, Girlie Action Media, and ran her own segment on UCLA Radio providing reviews of salient albums or live events. With experience in global relations, Kira has studied the entertainment industry in both the U.S. and South Korea. This gave her unique experiences as to how storytelling can manifest itself visually or auditorily throughout different cultures, creating hope and happiness within people across the globe in distinct yet familiar ways. In her spare time, you can catch Kira at a riveting concert, traveling, watching anything by Studio Ghibli, or at Disneyland! Instagram: @kira_ann1|| View My Articles
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