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Film review: Jojo Rabbit

Evans, Ethan (UMKC-Student)

World War II wasn’t funny, but “Jojo Rabbit” is brilliantly comedic.
Taika Waititi is a New Zealand filmmaker who not only directed this film, but played Hitler himself. Waititi takes audiences on a very uncanny experience reflecting back on Nazi Germany.

The film follows young, lonely Jojo Betzler played by eleven year old Roman Griffin Davis, who discovers his single German mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his imaginary friend — Adolf Hitler — Jojo confronts his blind nationalism as World War II rages on.

Jojo is eager to show the world how devoted he is to be a Nazi, joining the Hitler Youth camp and turning to his imaginary friend when things go wrong. After an injury at the camp, Jojo is forced to stay home while his mother Rosie (played by Scarlet Johansson) works. Roaming around the house one day, Jojo discovers a Jewish teen named Elsa hiding in the walls.

The film portrays an odd rendition of the war through the lenses of a child. By doing this, Waititi used innocence as a filter to step away from the gruesome reality of the Holocaust.

In the film, Hitler is seen as a goofy caricature that Jojo shaped by propaganda and little knowledge of life. This is seen as smart and uncomfortably funny, which has given the film high praise by critics.
However, not all are fond of a movie that seems to create jokes about this dark time in history that the world will never forget.

For starters, the film starts off with real clips of Nazi army parades set to The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” playing in the background. The interpretation of ditzy Nazis allowed audience members to laugh off the true circumstances.

“At first I was completely confused with the movie,” said Asia Brown, a moviegoer. “The jokes and the humorous characters almost made me forget that the Nazis were the enemies.”

Jojo Rabbit is a film that will be interpreted differently for each audience member. It may need to be viewed more than once to truly comprehend its meaning.

However, Waititi attempts to push the theme of nationalism, acceptance and love and makes people remember that hate is taught and no one is truly born with it in their heart. It mocks the dark time that will never be forgotten, those who hate others based on ethnicity, propaganda and the manipulation those in power wield over the innocent.

No matter the reviews, some of the themes in Jojo Rabbit can be used as a lease on what goes on today in American society.

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