Jojo Rabbit delivers surprise in anti-hate satire

Hannah Kopek, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Taika Waititi brought something risky to the screen in his movie Jojo Rabbit: he satirized Nazism, and it paid off.

Jojo Rabbit was Waititi’s brain child. He wrote, directed, and starred in his movie that followed a young boy, Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), in his quest to be a Nazi. He soon discovers that his mother is a part of the resistance and hiding a young Jewish girl in an upstairs crawlspace. The film captures his shift from blind follower to independent thinker with a thick layer of satire.

One should not walk into the theater thinking they are about to watch a comedy. By no means is Jojo Rabbit a comedy. Advertised as an anti-hate satire, the movie lives up to the name. Satire is defined as the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Waititi mocked Nazi behaviors in comical ways; however, the weight of World War II and the Holocaust was continually felt as the plot progressed.

One thing this movie nailed was the set and costume design. There was no doubt about the time period based off the buildings and clothes the characters were wearing. They did not cut any corners. As a stark reminder of the time and place, the town square had installed a gallow where Nazis hanged those found to be in the resistance.

I would like to applaud Scarlett Johansson for her performance as Rosie. Throughout the film, she maintained a goofy yet down-to-earth composure, while speaking with a convincing accent. Her acting was a high point of the movie, and the development of her character added to the shift in the film.

Also, Roman Griffin Davis did a phenomenal job as the lead. Jojo Rabbit was his first major role, and I am excited to see him grow throughout his career. His performance was expressive and effective.

A lot of the hilarity came from Waititi’s portrayal of Adolf Hitler. While it could’ve been misconstrued as unresearched, it can easily be explained by the fact that this Hitler was a figment of Jojo’s imagination. It was in no way reverent to Hitler’s regime. The blend of cinematic aesthetics and slapstick humor brought the movie full circle. Furthermore, Waititi acting as Hitler was intended to be ironic, seeing that Waititi is Jewish.

The pacing of the movie was adequate. It allowed viewers to open their hearts and minds to the characters, and foster an understanding that people can not be simply divided into groups of good or bad.

Overall, I think this is one of the most important movies anyone could see all year. It serves as a poignant reminder that prejudices are the creation of our own minds that need to be corrected, and not a reflection of another person. I give Jojo Rabbit 5/5 stars.