Length: 108 minutes / 1.80 hours
When I first saw the trailers for Jojo Rabbit (2019), I thought this movie looked like a fun and satirical romp through Nazi Germany. With the director (Taika Waititi) portraying an imaginary Adolf Hitler, the comedy was in full display during the trailers. After all, Waititi directed Thor: Ragnarok (2017), which is arguably one of the funniest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Plus, Jojo Rabbit seemed to focus on a 10-year-old boy (Roman Griffin Davis) in the Hitler Youth, which gave some strong Boy Scout vibes that I could potentially relate to.
Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed to find that the trailers contained all the comedy in Jojo Rabbit. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the remainder of the film gave some amount of cynicism and reality to the fanatical enthusiasm of Jojo and the other members of the Hitler Youth. In fact, there’s a significant scene that really hits home with the constant theme of tying shoelaces leading up to (and after) this emotional moment. At its base, Jojo Rabbit also has to show the ugliness of war. It highlights the contrast between the nastiness of the real Hitler and the silliness of an imaginary Hitler.
While it wasn’t entirely what I expected, Jojo Rabbit did deliver in a few key areas. First off, the feel of the whole film seemed reminiscent of Moonrise Kingdom (2012), which is one of my favorite Wes Anderson films (again, see my connection to the Boy Scouts). Add in heavy doses of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), and the result is this unique take on life in Germany during World War II. It might not have been entirely what I had expected (toning down and trimming a lot of the aspects from the book, Caging Skies), but it was entirely what I needed to see.
A funny and poignant view of WWII from the eyes of a German boy, I give Jojo Rabbit 3.5 stars out of 5.