Finally, after so many people telling me I had to see it (and I did want to, just hadn’t gotten around to it), I’ve watched Jojo Rabbit. I mean, I typically enjoy Taika Waititi’s work; Thor: Ragnarok is my favorite of the Marvel movies, and I thought What We Do in the Shadows was amazingly funny. So I was eager to see this and not surprised that I liked it.
Jojo Rabbit is about 10-year-old Jojo, a German boy aspiring to join the Hitler Youth. He has Hitler as an imaginary friend and advisor. And then he discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. It’s based on a book by Christine Leunens, which I haven’t read, so I can’t compare the film to the source material. But the whole thing is somewhat Wes Andersen in style and tone—the bright sets, the serious backdrop, the comedy masking the darker themes. I love Wes Andersen, too, so this all appealed to me.
I will say there was possibly not quite enough going on to completely hold my interest. Andersen’s movies are usually full of odd characters so that there are many people and side plots to pay attention to; that doesn’t happen as much here. Sam Rockwell and Alfie Allen have something going on that, I think, had it been expanded would have been a lot of fun, and Rebel Wilson, likewise, adds quite a few comedic touches, but she’s mostly punctuation. I understand that the focus should stay on Jojo and his dilemma, but his problem is fairly straightforward and one note: Jew girl in the house! But if I rat her out, we’ll all be in trouble! This story takes a predictable path of “learning the other is not so different.” And therefore is possibly the least interesting part of the movie, even though it’s packaged nicely with visual interest and comedy. It’s cute but nothing groundbreaking.
In short, the main story is the least interesting story. But any side interests are so far to the side that they almost don’t matter.
That said, it’s all very well acted, beautifully filmed, and still a cute movie. Certainly worthy of one’s time. I think I anticipated more after so much hype from everyone around me. To others who are interested but haven’t seen it, I’d say it’s a solid film but don’t expect to be overly wowed.