Directed by: Taika Waititi
Review by: Livi Edmonson
Directed by the always quirky yet critically-acclaimed Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit” is unlike any of its fellow 2020 Oscar nominees, or really any other film thid year. The plot follows a young, lonely German boy/ die-hard Nazi fan boy --- and yes, you heard that right --- living in the hard times of WWII named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), who learns that his single mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), is hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa, (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. With his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (played by Taika Waititi himself), always whispering into his ear, Jojo must face his blind nationalism head on and become friends with Elsa in a time of absolute loss and despair.
I, among other critics, realize that the synopsis of this film sounds absolutely terrible and distasteful, but I am here to tell you that this film is not what you think. It has a huge heart and at the end of the day, is a playful, anti-hate narrative that applies to circumstances not only in WWII, but also in today’s society. The acting is incredible with a powerfully charming ensemble including Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson among the other few actors mentioned earlier. Roman Griffin Davis is adorable and his breakout performance even earned him a 2020 Golden Globe nomination back in the beginning of January. Not to mention that Scarlett Johansson’s performance is one of her career best in my opinion, earning her not one but TWO Oscar nominations this year for both “Jojo Rabbit” and “Marriage Story,” which is nothing short of iconic considering that this has not happened in 12 years. If this does not get you to the theater to see this film, I do not know what will.
What makes “Jojo Rabbit” stand out from its other fellow 2020 Oscar “Best Picture” contenders is that it is so different in terms of genre and storyline. It is one of the only comedies this year, let alone the only satire in the mix. It is also led by a pair of extremely young actors, Davis and McKenzie, which I think also speaks volumes about the film’s diversity.
All in all, “Jojo Rabbit” is a one of a kind, special film. It is sweet, sometimes sad, but overall, it will tug at every audience member’s heart strings. The film seems ill-mannered in the sense of its ridiculous narrative. However, the film is anything but this. I highly recommend seeing this in theaters before the Oscars, seeing that it is back in theaters for a limited time, If you are looking to see a film that is trendy and out-there, you are in the right place with “Jojo Rabbit” and I cannot recommend this sweet, wildly hilarious film enough! I give it an 8.5/10.