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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Review: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ shows laughter and joy even during not so humorous times

From Fox Searchlight Pictures and interestingly enough Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, comes “Jojo Rabbit” an anti hate satire, directed and written by Taika Waititi. The film stars the director himself, Roman Griffin Davis in his first professional film, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Scarlett Johansson. Other recognizable actors are Stephen Merchant, Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson.

The film premiered first at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival where it won the people’s choice award. Box office data of the opening weekend is at $350,000.

Waititi has directed such works as “What We do In The Shadows,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and his Oscar nominated short, “Two cars, one night.” The short was later a featured scene in his other coming of age film called Boy. Waititi’s style of humor in many movies revolves around finding comedy in hard times and “Jojo Rabbit” is no exception.

Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis in "Jojo Rabbit" Photo credit: IMDB

Based on the book Caging Skies, by Christine Leunens, “Jojo Rabbit” is a comedy/drama that takes place in nazi Germany during World War II and satires Hitler, racism and antisemitism.

The film tells the child perspective of Jojo, played by Davis, a loyal and patriotic member of the Hitler Youth. Being his first professional picture, his acting is captivating, realistic and hysterical. He is followed throughout the film by his imaginary friend the füh·rer, Hitler, played by Waititi who is of jewish heritage in real life.

In media and with critiques, there has been talk about if this movie is allowed or can make comedy work with such horrible history and if this movie does it correctly, but it does. The movie criticizes and makes fun of nazi ideology constantly throughout the movie for how ignorant and idiotic such dangerous ideas can be. Being a comedy of an atrocity, many will struggle with the message that “Jojo Rabbit” gives. Though the movie has a comedic element, it doesn’t stray away from showing the true effects racism can have on someone.

Being a coming of age movie the movie is not only a humor piece but a drama that has many touching moments. The connection with characters played by the actors in “Jojo Rabbit” is realistic and uncanny. Not only is the acting believable but so are the sets, props, costumes and everything in between. The picture is a window to another era. cinematographer Mihai Mălaimare Jr. paints beautifully with the camera, showing crisp detail, intelligent composition and gorgeous color.

Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson and Roman Griffin Davis in "Jojo Rabbit" Photo credit: IMDB

The film is reminiscent of other satire films about nazi Germany like “Inglorious Basterds,” “My Führer – The Really Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler” and “The Great Dictator.” “The Great Dictator” was heavily in it’s 1940 release but is now considered a comedy classic. Many have also drawn comparison to “Life Is Beautiful.”

“Jojo Rabbit” is a great watch for people into dark satirical humor but could be enjoyed by many more because of it’s appeal to many other types of viewers. The film comments on pressing issues but it does so with laughs, tears, gorgeous visuals and a captivating story.

About the Contributor
Jose Vazquez
Jose Vazquez, Staff Photographer
Jose Vazquez is a returning staff photographer for The Hornet. Jose wants to tell people's stories and cover points of interest in our culture's conflicts, politics, history, and the obscure. His focus currently is on the emerging music and art scene in Southern California. Jose is currently studying at Fullerton College where he is working towards a bachelor’s degree in photography and journalism. He also volunteers at a nonprofit art house movie theatre in Santa Ana, the historic Frida Theatre. In his free time, he creates videos on his YouTube channel and plays drums in a garage gaze band called Black Star Meadow.