Warning: Spoilers (for example, the Nazis don’t win)
Theoretically there has been someone who asked themselves, “What if Wes Anderson made a movie, but it was about Nazis?”
They will still have to wonder, I suppose, but “Jojo Rabbit” is probably about as close as they’re going to get.
Because Taika Waititi made a cute and funny movie about Nazis that isn’t particularly funny or cute. I guess it kind of is, but at the end of the day it’s still about Nazis and is really quite sad.
“Jojo Rabbit” kind of looks like “Moonrise Kingdom” except about a Hitler Youth named Jojo who is bumbling around, developing his young fanaticism with the help of his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. The imaginary friend version of Hitler is an incredible dolt, and is played by Waititi because he said he felt bad making anyone else dress up like Hitler. Jojo also has a real friend named Yorki, who is a chubby kid with horn-rimmed glasses. Yorki is also a Nazi.
Jojo is a tiny, 10-year-old boy with tousled blonde hair. He accidentally blows himself up with a grenade at Nazi summer camp. He then serves as somewhat of an apprentice to a drunkard Nazi officer with dreams of soaring into battle wearing a flamboyantly fringed cape.
Jojo’s mom, who is hiding a young Jewish girl, Elsa, in the attic, is apparently the only person in the movie allowed to wear colors and is a very good person. She is not a Nazi — which can be seen in how she helps a Jewish girl survive the Holocaust — and she tries to steer her young Nazi son in the right direction, walking a thin line between teaching him what is right and avoiding being turned in by him to the Gestapo.
Jojo does finally come around, after he accidentally discovers and befriends the stowaway, and also after his mother is hung in the town square.
Yorki, who is also 10, was not blown up by a grenade at summer camp and has been conscripted into the army. He is seen in the films later scenes running around with a rocket launcher, and realizes that perhaps he chose the wrong side only after the real Hitler kills himself and the Germans lose the war. Rebel Wilson is also in this movie for some reason.
It is very strange to see such an aesthetically pleasing, peak-2019 film centered on the lives of people who are Nazis, but also seem to be OK people, but that is the world we live in.
In a shocking twist ending, “Jojo Rabbit” reveals the important life lesson that Nazis are, in fact, bad.
It is a very emotional realization. There is a nice dancing scene at the end after the Allied troops invade with Jojo and Elsa.
Don’t worry though, none of the main characters die. Because while they might be Nazis, they are also cute children, and as an audience we shouldn’t have to choose who to root for.
It is a confusing movie that seems also to be good.
Rating: One and one half World Wars out of the two the Germans lost.