Jojo Rabbit movie poster

Jojo Rabbit

In theaters October 18, 2019

Rated

,

108 minutes

Official Selection:

Directed by:

Starring: , , , , ,

There’s no shortage of weirdness in Taika Waititi’s latest movie about “the bestest, most loyal little Nazi ever.” Selected as the opening Feature of the 50th anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival, Jojo Rabbit delighted with its anti-hate message and memorable performances.

The place is Nazi Germany and the time is nearing the end of World War II. The main player is Jojo (Robert Griffin Davis), a bright young kid with aspirations to be recruited into Hitler’s private guard someday. Jojo thinks being a Nazi is a great honor, so much so, the führer (played by Waititi himself) is even the boy’s sardonic imaginary friend. Jojo leans on Hitler whenever he needs encouragement in times of self-doubt.

Jojo is raised by his single mother (played by Scarlett Johansson) who is harboring a teenage Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie). Jojo discovers the girl hiding in the walls of their home and it presents the boy with a philosophical quandary. Should he report the girl? Circumstances being what they are, Jojo and the girl open a dialogue. Hitler’s worst nightmare.

Jojo and Elsa are faced with extremely complicated situations for kids this age. Davis grasps that complexity very well, inserting the perfect concoction of naiveté, confidence, and sadness into the role at exactly the right moments. I can tell you from experience, this is an extremely tough ask of a child actor. His confidant Davis, more aware of the horror her character faced, is equally as impressive. But it’s Jojo’s best real-life buddy Yorki (Archie Yates) that steals every. damn. scene.

Jojo Rabbit, for all the ubiquitous (and outrageous) comedy, is, at the heart, a story of love and tolerance; and despite the film buttressed with a heavy dose of vile ideology, the themes and execution are not so heavy to alienate most audiences. It’s kinda happy, kinda sad. The writing is an absolute hoot. These are the types of movies we need right now. Consider it the bestest, most charming little anti-Nazi movie ever.

Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.

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