Watch Jojo Rabbit!
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
In short, I absolutely loved this movie. I rate it a 9/10.
Find out why ahead!
While I'm someone who likes to question basically everything, I can be pretty relaxed when it comes to movies. I went to this movie to enjoy, not critique it.
Jojo Rabbit is about a ten-year-old boy, Jojo, living in Nazi Germany. He is a Nazi youth convinced Nazism is the correct way to gain prestige and is being told so by his imaginary friend who is an idiotic version of Hitler. He then finds a Jewish girl, Elsa, in his house that his mother has been harboring and has to question his beliefs.
Dark Humor/ Pathos:
If you're someone who enjoys dark humor, I think you would enjoy this movie. The consistent wrong and irrelevant jokes make for a good time. The movie had a perfect mix of funny and sad. This has been the first movie to make me cry in about 5 years.
The perspective of this movie is unique, and it's better because of it. It is from the perspective of somebody who is a Nazi but is also the protagonist because he is a child and a victim of indoctrination. He is likable. He tries hard to make his country proud, but he is at the end of the day just a child who cares about other people.
Elsa is in the most vulnerable position one could be in. When Jojo discovers her you would expect her to be fearful and beg him not to turn her over, but she was strong, threatening, and angry. Her character was dynamic.
Jojo accidentally throws a bomb to close to himself and gets pretty injured. He is the butt of a lot of jokes about his appearance, calling himself a monster. This is a metaphor for him being the monster he sees Jews as. As his scars heal, his views change.
The butterfly is a symbol of love. His mother compares love to butterflies. At the point where he is most conflicted he is walking down the street. He sees Nazi posters falling and tries to put them back up but they won't stay, and he's aggravated. He then notices a butterfly and is overcome by its beauty, and follows it instead. This is representative of him choosing love over Nazism.
Jojo's imaginary friend Hitler is the personified version of Germany in his head. It is how he thinks of Germany's goals and policies. Jojo is mocked by his peers at the beginning of the movie for being unable to kill a rabbit, then calling him Jojo rabbit. Hitler assures Jojo rabbits are brave and can outsmart predators. Hitler was his own downfall. Jojo and Elsa were the Rabbit.
Jojo: The greatest character development obviously happens with Jojo. While Jojo's mother is working in secret against Germany, she has allowed the state to indoctrinate him for his own protection. Jojo is firmly against Jewish people, being reaffirmed by Hitler 2.0. When he stumbles upon Elsa, he is at first very scared. He has been told lies upon lies about Jews. As he gets to know her, he's conflicted, none of the things he was told was true, and he liked her. He eventually decided that what he was told wasn't true, and errs on the side of humanity.
Elsa: Elsa is at first very standoffish. When Jojo finds her and is scared she plays off of it. She threatens him. She sees him as the embodiment of Nazism. As they get to know each other, she remembers he's a child. As he shows her humanity, she does the same.
Captain Klenzendorf: I had just watched Charlie's Angels (2000) where Sam Rockwell plays the bad guy, so this threw me through a loop.
His character doesn't overly develop, but he's my favorite character so I wanted to include him. He is mostly good, but still morally grey. At the end of the movie he does fight for Germany, but he is secretly working against Germany all throughout the movie, and helped Elsa not get caught.
In the end, when the Americans were seizing Nazis, he and Jojo were having a heart to heart. He told Jojo he would be okay. He ripped off Jojo's Nazi uniform and spit on him calling him a Jew, thereby sacrificing himself. Jojo was scared and didn't realize this was to save him. That is the part where I cried. For such a small, kind, conflicted character, he is so memorable.
This is my only criticism, and it's pretty nit-picky. Love is a theme throughout the movie. Jojo mocks it at first only to fall in love with Elsa. When they begin to treat each other with decency, she offers to kiss him, he says no because it would be a pity kiss. Love and him liking her is brought up many more times, but that never is. I don't see the relevance.
I thought this movie was very thoughtful. The mix of satire, growth, and pathos was very well done and it was very entertaining to watch. I highly recommend this movie.