“You’re not a Nazi, Jojo. You’re a ten-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club.”
If you want to see the best movie of 2019, look no further. Jojo Rabbit is officially on my Oscar watch-list. And, yes. It’s possible to make a good comedy about Hitler. Thank you to the 30th annual New Orleans Film Festival for premiering this in NOLA!
Let’s be clear that this is 100% an anti-hate satire from acclaimed director Taiki Waititi (The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor Ragnarok). I knew this film would be controversial, but I didn’t realize how much backlash it would receive for a film with such tremendous heart.
Did I mention Hitler is played by Waititi, a Polynesian Jew, and he’s HILARIOUS.
“Balancing satire and the Holocaust was always going to be tricky, and ‘Jojo Rabbit’ has already divided critics. But only in America is “divisive” a bad thing, the New Zealand filmmaker says — everywhere else, it’s considered art.” via LA Times
Some are arguing that the film lacks humor (what??), totally rips off Mel Brook’s Springtime for Hitler Youth, and is full of irreverent performances. To these critics, I tell them to politely shut the fuck up and appreciate the art.
I’m here to let you know that I’m team Waititi, and I’m going to tell you why to see this this movie.
Jojo Rabbit is a World War II satirical black comedy that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic.
The movie made it’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won the prestigious People’s Choice Award. It’s been drawing both praise and disdain for it’s light (yet hilarious) portrayal of Nazis, but should unanimously hold praise for the performances of it’s lead actors. Due to its setting and polarized reception, it has been compared to the 1997 film Life Is Beautiful. Oscars? Are you there? It’s me, Jojo Rabbit.
Waititi admitted feeling “embarrassed” when pitching the idea for the movie and how the film sheds light on today’s society. It’s all of the above – a comedy, a drama and a tragedy all centering around the Nazi regime.
Waititi pegged the question: “Isn’t it weird that in 2019 someone still has to make a movie trying to explain to people not to be a Nazi?” “Though there are a myriad of existing films that take place in a time of war or a historical event, Waititi said he approached Jojo Rabbit differently by telling the story ‘from a child’s point of view.’ “You’ve never seen films with a backdrop of conflict or wars really from a child’s point of view and I really wanted to explore that world,” he explained.
This is a challenging movie to say the least, and shows how children are conditioned from a very early age to think a certain way. It’s relevancy in today’s society is undeniable and important to understand.
“I’m not sure if I should be saying this, because I don’t want it to feel like I’m defending myself, but [Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company] and [Alan F. Horn, cochairman and chief creative officer of Walt Disney Studios] have seen the film and have sent me emails like, ‘This is fucking a very important film; we love the film.’ ” via Esquire
There you have it, folks. It’s a multi-faceted roller coaster ride of emotions that even got the stamp of approval from Disney. I’m not sure if you can get much better than that, and while some may whine otherwise, I’m here to tell you that you need and should see it. Immediately.