Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

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I look stupid. People will stare.

I feel like the biggest thing holding this back from being my favorite movie ever, is my only theatrical experience of it. It was only showing in one theater near me, my dad, who was looking forward to it, was out of town, and my mom isn't a big fan of Taika's comedy. Added to that, there was only five other people in that theater at most, which greatly takes away from the comedy since none of them seemed to find it funny. It also takes away from the dramatic final act, so that initial shock of Rosie's death is gone when I rewatched it.
But that said, Jojo Rabbit is an absolutely incredible movie, and one that works so well on a rewatch.

You're not a Nazi, Jojo. You're a ten-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club.

Jojo Betzler is easily one of my favorite characters of all time. Roman Griffin Davis put on an absolutely fantastic performance, and his character feels real. He's a naive ten year old who believes only what he's told he should. His imaginary friend is what he imagines Hitler is like, but as the film progresses it slowly becomes more and more accurate. He becomes more cruel over the tiniest things to show how Jojo is starting to disagree with him and his beliefs. Jojo himself only accepts Elsa's friendship to impress Hitler, by writing an expose on Jews, but he realizes the Nazi beliefs are flawed because he finds she's a genuine human being. He's able to open his heart to more people than just Adolf, because it's at this time he becomes more friendly to Yorkie and his mother. He constantly thinks he's not only ready for war, but would kill without question. Yet when he's presented with such situations, he can't, and it's really not until he's bonded with Elsa that he's able to accept that.
Rosie's death is a big part of his story, too. She's someone Jojo depends on, and her death is his loss of innocence. He has no one he can depend on. And the death of Captain K hits just as hard since he's the only father figure Jojo has. He sacrificed his life so Jojo could escape, knowing it was for the best.

Dancing is for people who are free. It's an escape from all this.

Dancing is a big part of this movie. As Rosie states, it's something free people do, which is what makes the final seconds so emotional. Elsa is finally free from the antisemitic Germany and Jojo is finally free of his beliefs. They aren't running and hiding anymore, they are truly free. When Jojo and Rosie dance earlier, it's an escape. They don't have to fight about the war or miss his dad, they dance to take their mind off it. Both are beautiful moments that mean so much to these characters and in the story.

Your mother took me in. She's kind. She treats me like a person.

Taika Waititi wanted to make a satire of these hateful ideas, and he certainly did. He made a beautiful story that perfectly shows how stupid these beliefs were, and it's something that will easily stand the test of time. It's funny, it's sad, it's smart, and it's original. I love Parasite, but I'd be lying if I said this isn't what I'd vote for as the best picture winner of 2019.

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