“Jojo Rabbit” is the perfect satire for the 21st century

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“Jojo Rabbit” is the perfect satire for the 21st century

Courtesy of IMDb

Courtesy of IMDb

Courtesy of IMDb

Courtesy of IMDb

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   Most sane people can agree that Nazis and Adolf Hitler are not funny, however “Jojo Rabbit” manages to spin its plot in such a way that you can’t help but laugh. “Jojo Rabbit, written and directed by Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok,” “What We Do in the Shadows”), brilliantly takes on a premise where there is little room for error. A satire about Nazis has not been this well executed since Mel Brooks’ Oscar-winning “The Producers” (1967). Based on the book “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens, the plot follows young Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), who discovered that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic (Thomasin McKenzie), during World War II in Nazi Germany. However, Jojo’s imaginary friend is Hitler himself, played by Waititi. Imaginary Hitler begins the film with a childlike innocence, mirroring young Jojo’s. But as the story progresses and Jojo gains more of an understanding of the world around him, Hitler begins starting to act, well, more like Adolf Hitler. Jojo’s friend Yorkie, played by the scene-stealing Archie Yates, adds to the childlike innocence of a movie that would normally not succeed.

   With such a bold concept, so much could have gone wrong, but Waititi’s masterful storytelling creates a movie that can make you laugh and bawl your eyes out in the span of 90 seconds. Jojo begins the movie as a child who mindlessly believes Nazi propaganda, which in one way or another, mirrors today’s culture. People are quick to believe whatever they read on the internet, leading to widespread conspiracy theories that may put people’s lives at risk. Waititi manages to tackle antisemitism in a way that makes it funny, yet serious, while also trying to wake the world up to a phenomenon that has continued to persist for thousands of years. The stellar cast, rounded out by Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, and Stephen Merchant, helps to paint Waititi’s masterful picture. However, “Jojo” isn’t for everyone. Some may not get its jokes, while others may consider it offensive. The movie will probably end up being one of the most divisive movies of the fall movie season, but make no mistake, this is one of the best films of 2019. There has yet to be a movie that can blend hilarious satire and tear-jerking moments as well as “Jojo Rabbit.” Waititi’s tremendous ability to weave a complicated, funny, and emotional story together could pave the way for this movie to become a future classic.

   Having already won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, “Jojo Rabbit” could be an Oscar favorite, and it would be rightly deserved. Waititi delivers an emotional and hilarious approach to hatred, teaching the world a lesson that we need to learn now, that hate and evil are not unbeatable.