Comedy Drama

Fighting Hate with Satire: A TIFF Review of ‘Jojo Rabbit’

September 13, 2019Ben MK

Young Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) isn't the bravest, smartest or most athletic 10-year-old, and he's constantly being bullied by his older classmates. But when he's feeling low he knows there's one person he can always count on — his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler.

Played with ample charm and goofiness by Taika Waititi (who also directs), Adolf is there to get Jojo mentally prepared for each new day, and even to give him advice to help him get through Nazi youth camp. But when Jojo discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) has been sheltering a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in a secret room of their home, will he be able to learn to think for himself and listen to his heart? Or will he continue to blindly follow the hate speech and propaganda that the real Hitler and his German government have been spreading across the country?

With an all-star cast that includes Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant and Alfie Allen, Jojo Rabbit is a World War II movie unlike any other. Hilarious yet also genuinely heartfelt in its message, this is a film that's not nearly as controversial as its subject matter might suggest, but it's as feel-good as movies get.

Jojo Rabbit makes its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 48 min.

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