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Jojo Rabbit
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Taika Waititi, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson
Genre: Comedy (Movies & Tv)

Running Time:
Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 (NTSC )
Subtitles: English
Studio:  DVD Region:  1 PG-13
DVD Release:  Feb 2020 Discs:  2 (Cloud) []
Reviews:  Theatrical review. Possible spoilers. This political satire takes place in Nazi Germany in the waning days of the war. A 10-year old boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis in his acting debut) is a gung-ho Nazi wannabe. He wears the youth uniform and along with his best friend Yorki (Archie Yates) think they are on the fast-track to victory; although Yorki warns that the Americans, Brits, Russians, French and China are making it tough.

Jojo is also a bit odd in ways that make him a target for some of the older boys who train the kids. When confronted with killing a rabbit, Jojo can’t and runs off, thus his nickname. Jojo’s mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson, “Avengers: Endgame”) is always off “working” somewhere doing something. She loves the boy and tries to downplay his interest in Hitler and the Nazis. Johansson is brilliant in this role maintaining her motherly responsibilities while her priorities become more difficult.

In order to cope with some of his waning desires for war or violence, Jojo has an imaginary pal in Hitler, played by writer/director Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows”). When Jojo needs answers or encouragement he calls on Hitler for advice. This is a tricky and perhaps controversial for some, calculation in the film. But Waititi manages to walk the fine line between satire and the evil of the real man. There are great scenes between the 2 actors.

Jojo’s father is absent, but again we’re not sure where he is. Jojo is told he’s working as part of the war effort, but Rosie is coy about the explanation. One day Jojo discovers a teenage girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie, so good in “Leave No Trace”) camping out in a secret compartment in his mother’s bedroom. Elsa tells Jojo that she remembers him and that his mother has given her permission to stay there. Elsa acknowledges that she’s Jewish, which puts Jojo in an awkward position. Even he knows that ratting out Elsa would also have harsh implications for him and his mother. So he keeps the secret and over time the two go from being enemies to friends. Jojo even has a crush on Elsa, one he knows can never be acted upon. Jojo a budding writer, begins to write letters to Elsa from her supposed fiancé who is off to war. These are quite touching scenes in a film that has many.

Taika Waititi has become one of my favorite filmmakers with “Shadows” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” as well as “Thor: Ragnarok” under his belt. Also noteworthy in the film is Sam Rockwell who plays Captain Klenzendorf, the leader of the youth training movement and Rebel Wilson as Fraulein Rahm who is in charge of the girls. The film has that perfect combination of comedy, touching drama, heart wrenching sadness, innocent goodness, wartime horror and a contemporary comparison of the world hiding in plain sight. This film is destined for a place on my Top Ten list for 2019. Highly recommended.

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