One of the main things they teach you about writing film reviews is hey, maybe don’t blow the ending. But, god, do I wish I could tell you just how much I needed the last few minutes of Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” on today of all days.
Besides, I always err on the side of personal essays anyways. Let’s not pretend I am in anyway a film critic. I aimlessly left my apartment to go for a walk in the pouring rain this morning, trying to tire myself out because I didn’t sleep a wink. I zoned out and walked about four miles.
Candidly, the droplets on my sweatshirt were a mixture of rainwater and tears. Realizing I walked too far to turn back, I sought shelter in the nearest theater. “Jojo Rabbit” happened to be starting right as I arrived, so it was fate, really.
Taika Waititi is an accomplished filmmaker responsible for one of the greatest cult films ever made, “What We Do In The Shadows,” among lesser important things, like “Thor: Ragnarok.” (Sorry, one of the Hemsworths.)
It's punishment for you know what. https://t.co/hv1Duw1AER
— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) October 19, 2019
It’s no surprise that I’d be drawn to Waititi’s buffoonish take on dark Nazi Germany. Jojo, played by Roman Griffin Davis, is a 10-year-old Hitler Youth during WW2, whose hopes to become a soldier are thwarted after an accident.
Jojo’s imaginary friend, Hitler, played by Waititi himself is a caricature of the fuhrer that does silly rumor-based things like eat unicorn meat.
As a literal child, Jojo is a scared boy who wants to belong and loves his mommy (Scarlet Johansson.) He wants to fall in line and thinks love is gross. A development at home challenges his entire belief system and forces the plot along.
Not without its sad and horrific moments (there are literal Nazis after all) the movie still ultimately punches up.
“Jojo Rabbit” has a a lot of heart, humor, and hardship. Without spoiling too much, I’ll just say that I left feeling like I had been given a sign to keep going, no matter what. For that, I am really thankful.