Jojo Rabbit: I Cried A Lot Watching This Movie

Jojo Rabbit Review

After I watched Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit”, I begged the head of movie content to let me review it. Today, after rereading for the ninth or tenth time what I just wrote, I am beginning to doubt if this can really pass for a movie review. If they publish this, then perhaps it can pass for a movie review. When I began watching the movie, I was immediately drawn by the cute innocence of Jojo Betzler played by Roman Griffin Davis. Jojo is ten but he wants to be a big man, he wants to be a German patriot and soldier, and he wants to be accepted by everyone around him. But the truth is obvious, he can’t even hurt a rabbit to save his dignity.

Jojo has a friend, a fanciful comical Hitler played by the director of the film, Taika Waititi, who plants hate and destruction on the boy’s heart. Jojo loves his mother played by the super talented Scarlett Johansson but is impatient with her for not seeing him as a man who must do what he must do for his country and for not sharing in his blind fanatism. It turns out that his mother is not just a non-fanatic, she is actually anti-Nazi and would secretly drop Allies propaganda to counter the Nazi propaganda her son pastes after he blows his face with a grenade and his chances of becoming a youth soldier. he later finds out that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the wall of his late sister’s room.

Jojo is in a dilemma. A German patriot should report this demonic Jew to the authorities but he will be betraying his mom whom he loves and must take care of in the absence of his father in the Army fighting in Italy. He couldn’t bring himself to betray his mother but he should hate the Jewish girl who bullies him and make Hitler who pressures him to act happy. To buy time, Jojo decides to punish the girl by making her see her inferiority while he writes a book about her. Slowly and slowly, butterflies begin to find their ways into his belly, a German Field Marshall may be falling in love with a Jew.

Tears, tears, and so many tears

The only thing that Jojo really wants is to help Germany become the ruler of the world and defeat its enemies. He is ready to do anything to advance the German cause. He seems to ask for nothing in return but the chance to be trusted with more duties. After sharing propaganda materials one day, the boy was chasing a naughty butterfly only to recognize his mother’s shoes on one of the people that has just been hung. He loves the Nazis and they take away his only relation on earth. The boy hugged his mother’s feet and wept. I wept with him. I think I wept for the remainder of the film.

How tall is Dwayne Johnson?

Whenever the tears seem to abate, something will happen to break my heart like when Jojo goes about scavenging for food in the bins and seated alone on the dining to eat the rubbish he picked. The same Nazis he serves who took his mother couldn’t provide for him and let him suffer destitution. Like when Jojo and Elsa stand at the window in the dark mourning their mother and savior. Like when Captain K saved Jojo’s life by calling him out as a Jew and Jojo crying to save his friend who is about to be summarily executed. Like when Jojo and Elsa dance at the end.

Jojo Rabbit: The cast was on fire

The cast of “Jojo Rabbit” is an impressive one. There is the Oscar-winning Sam Rockwell who played the role of one-eyed but excellent marksman Captain Klenzendorf who proved to be humane at the end when he saved Elsa Korr and Jojo’s lives. His acting was powerful and he brought freshness to the screen and on the much-maligned, stereotypical portrayal of Nazi officers. Elsa Korr is a Jewish girl Jojo’s mother is hiding. She is played by New Zealand talented teenager Thomasin McKenzie. Also in the cast is Theon Greyjoy who is Captain Klenzendorf’s assistant, Rebel Wilson who played the role of girls leader in the Hitler Youth Wing and who gave the show brilliant touches of comic reliefs.

See The Aeronauts movie review

Jojo’s best friend is the English child-actor Archie Yates and together they portrayed one of the best chemistries on the big screen in 2019. Many will readily point at Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” and Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in “The Irishman” as buddies that rocked 2019, but one will be partial not to appreciate Jojo and Yorki. After the battle that sees Jojo’s city taken over by the Allies, Jojo and Yorki meet and hug and speak like adults which the situation has made them become but punctuated with childlike vulnerabilities like when Yorki says he needs to cuddle with his mom as nothing else makes sense.

This film is the debut for Roman Griffin Davis. Watch out for him, he would make things happen in Hollywood and in his homeland British movie industry. Archie Yates too would achieve big things in the industry. It is a shame that Theon Greyjoy was given little acting time in the show. We will see more of McKenzie. We already saw her in “Leave No Trace” and “The Changeover”. I will be surprised if the cast of Jojo Rabbit does not land at least two Oscar nominations.

Update: They got one nomination – Scarlett Johanssen for Best Supporting Actress.

How do I rate Jojo Rabbit?

I read some readers on “Jojo Rabbit” where the reviewers took the movie too seriously and gave Taika Waititi knocks for making a fun character out of the monster in Hitler and presenting the war in a way that did more good to the image of Nazi racists who supervised the killing of six million Jews. These serious reviews are angry that the film comes out at a time when the West is battling to keep down the voice of White nationalists and supremacists, so making a film that gives racist a slap in the wrist and highlighted their human side somehow encourages white nationalism and racism.

See also: Angel Falls A Holiday Movie Review

I disagree with them. A film, first of all, is an act of entertainment. People do not go to the cinema to learn about the history of a people. If they see someone’s history, it is secondary, a bonus. But entertainment is the primary thing that takes them to the cinema. There is something called suspense of disbelief in that they see characters while they should see actors and see blood where they should see red olive or whatever way blood is manufactured with. A good movie will make you think. No sane person comes out of a movie with anger enough to do harm. Racists don’t need a movie to make them act the way they do. There are ripple effects of course, but they are too insignificant to warrant a total dismissal of the gem that “Jojo Rabbit” is.

I love the film and I give it 8.5/10.

Image source: Architectural Digest

Lola Pedro

Lola Pedro

Lola Pedro is a contributor who will only write about stars she likes and movies she is crazy about