Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Jojo Rabbit * A Masterful Dark Comedy and Satire of One of History’s Most Horrific Times

A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C. comments, “I really love Jojo Rabbit. It is a work of art and definitely deserves so many nominations for the award season. It is a beautiful story told in a very original way, but some people may not fully understand everything, especially if you don’t know much about World War II.” Katherine S., adds, “Jojo Rabbit is very funny, even though it covers a very serious topic. There are plenty of interesting characters and the acting is terrific. The vividness of Jojo’s imagination is incredible and his friendships throughout the movie are so very important to the success of this story.  Julie S. wraps it up with, “Wow! I was stunned by this film. I heard people talking about it after seeing it at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year and couldn’t wait to see it. Taika’s masterful control of a highly charged subject, the Holocaust, turning it into a dark comedy is pulled off in the most remarkable way.” See their full reviews below.

Jojo Rabbit
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really love Jojo Rabbit. It is a work of art and definitely deserves so many nominations for the award season. It is a beautiful story told in a very original way, but some people may not fully understand everything, especially if you don’t know much about World War II.

(L-R): Thomasin McKenzie, Roman Griffin Davis and Taika Waititi in the film JOJO RABBIT. Photo Kimberley French. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

This storyline is about a boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) who lives in Nazi Germany and is in one of Hitler’s youth training camps. He constantly talks to his imaginary friend, who is a child-like version of Adolf Hitler. One day, he finds out that his mom (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin Mackenzie) in their home. As the film goes on, Jojo discovers the truth about the Nazi world and the Jews as well. By discovering Elsa and the development of their friendship, Jojo starts questioning his ideals and loyalties. 

This film is a dark comedy and a satire of one of the most horrific events in history, the Holocaust. This was a very dark time in the world and somehow Taika Waititi (the director) turns this tragic time into a remarkable comedy. The narration in this film is really good and the story unfolds very easily. I didn’t really know much about World War II, and the film doesn’t really address why Hitler was bad, but this is not a documentary. It doesn’t refer to many facts of the Holocaust; it really addresses Jojo’s struggles and is a story about tolerance and how love overcomes bigotry.

(L-R): Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) has dinner with his imaginary friend Adolf (Writer/Director Taika Waititi), and his mother, Rosie (Scarlet Johansson). Photo Kimberley French. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

The acting is very good. I especially love the performance of Taika Waititi who plays the imaginary Hitler. Sam Rockwell plays a very intriguing role as Captain Klenzendorf and Scarlet Johansson is a very loving mother you immediately connect to immediately. Roman Griffin David is the perfect Jojo in this, his acting debut.

One thing that really caught my attention was the music because there are Beatles’ songs in German. I like the paradox because the Beatles are, to me, a great expression of love. I really love the idea of using Beatles’ songs and found it very creative. The director was inspired by the idolatry Beatles’ fans have for this British band.  The bright colors contrast with the sadness of the era, representing the illusion of wellness that a lot of Germans felt while they were being brainwashed by the Nazis. The cinematography creates a very warm atmosphere and the wardrobe also shows the elegance of the era.

Scarlett Johansson and Roman Griffin Davis in the film JOJO RABBIT. Photo – Larry Horricks. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

I like these types of film where they make you research about things that you may not have known about before. After seeing this film I was a little confused, but after doing some research I really saw the beauty of the film. One of my favorite scenes is when Jojo and his mom are on a bike ride together.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. Jojo Rabbit opens November 8, 2019. Be sure to check it out.

Jojo Rabbit
By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Jojo Rabbit is very funny, even though it covers a very serious topic. There are plenty of interesting characters and the acting is terrific. The vividness of Jojo’s imagination is incredible and his friendships throughout the movie are so very important to the success of this story.

Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis in the film JOJO RABBIT. Photo – Kimberley French. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Jojo Rabbit tells the story about a 10-year old Nazi-loving boy, Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) and his youthful journey through World War II, alongside his imaginary friend, who leads him with his political sway. While at a Hitler Youth Camp JoJo throws a grenade and accidentally blows up his face and legs. Jojo’s dreams of becoming a Nazi soldier quickly fade. One day while at home he hears something unusual in the attic. That something turns out to be a Jewish girl hidden in his attic. So, Jojo and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (no less), make a plan to get to know as much about Jewish people as they can.

Jojo Rabbit is directed by Taika Waititi, who also plays Adolf Hitler in this movie.  Nazis are not funny at all, but the perspective of this movie is from a child’s eyes and I found the story to be intriguing and funny. There are some incredible actors in this movie including Scarlett Johansson, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson and Roman Griffin Davis. My favorite character is Yorki, played by Archie Yates.  He is so hysterical.

(L-R): Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen and Roman Griffin Davis in the film JOJO RABBIT. Photo – Larry Horricks. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

The message of the movie is to treat others kindly and not to judge them by their faith. This movie has some profanity, some gory scenes of war and blood, and dead bodies. As you might expect in a movie taking place during a war there are risky things that kids might try to imitate. 

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults will also like this movie, if they don’t think too much about the true history behind it. This movie opens in theaters November 8, 2019.

Jojo Rabbit
By Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

Wow! I was stunned by this film. I heard people talking about it after seeing it at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year and couldn’t wait to see it. Taika’s masterful control of a highly charged subject, the Holocaust, turning it into a dark comedy is pulled off in the most remarkable way. The cast is superb, starting with Roman Griffin Davis, whose innocence draws you in from the opening scene and somehow he holds onto it, even as he discovers truths that threaten his ideals and beliefs that he has held fast. His invisible friend Adolf Hitler, played by Taika Waititi, comes in like a big surprise. You want to laugh at his antics, and not laugh because he is Hitler. In the end, you laugh, because the entire film makes you do that. Scarlett Johansson, as Jojo’s mom is warm and slightly off kilter. You se her passion for her young son and for “doing the right thing.” You’re not surprised at what happens to her, as horrific as it is. Thomasin McKenzie, as Elsa, the young Jewish girl living in the attic plays her role beautifully and her relationship with Jojo develops realistically as his eyes are opened to the idea that Jews are not what he’s been told at Hitler’s youth camp. The ending is satisfyingly appropriate. We can only imagine what happens next. 5 out of 5 stars and recommended for ages 12 to 18, plus adults.

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