Taika Waititi playing Hitler… well, I think it’s safe to say that I have seen everything now.
In all seriousness, when Jojo Rabbit was first announced there was a bit of controversy over the satirical plot being about a young boy in World War Two Germany whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler.
Thankfully, such controversy was unwarranted as Waititi has crafted a film that manages to be hilarious, heartwarming and dark, resulting in a film that is probably my favourites of his.
The story follows the young Jojo (played by Roman Griffin Davis in his first role) a member of the Hitler Youth who is so misguidedly infatuated with the country’s genocidal leader that he imagines him as his imaginary friend.
After learning that his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), is hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) from the Nazis, Jojo desperately tries to figure out a way to get rid of her without getting his mother into trouble.
What follows is many endearing scenes between the three characters as Jojo comes to learn that Elsa is far from the monster Nazi propaganda would have him believe.
All three actors give great performances, delivering both emotional weight and humor perfectly.
The same can be said for the other characters like the disillusioned Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and Jojo’s friend Yorki (Archie Yates) who is just too pure for this world.
I especially loved Waititi’s portrayal of the imaginary friend Hitler, taking him from the childish and friendly character of Jojo’s imagination to the cruel and detestable dictator we know from history.
This slow decrease in Jojo’s perception of Hitler, results from many surprisingly tragic moments in the film, including one moment that left me gaping for at least a full minute.
I probably would have cried if I had not been so shocked by it.
Ultimately, this is what proves JoJo Rabbit to be one of Waititi’s best films.
It balances its often dark tone with humor brilliantly, often combining to create dark humor, resulting in a satire that comments on the impact of war, hate, and by the end, love.
I highly recommend Jojo Rabbit.