Starring Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, and Taika Waititi
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Running time: 108 minutes
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, some disturbing images, violence, and language.

Among the many movie portrayals of a hero in times of war, few are as distinctive as Taika Waititi’s 2019 comedy/drama Jojo Rabbit. Set in Germany during the Allied liberation of the country, the story revolves around the fanatical Johannes Betzler, aka “Jojo,” a ten-year-old boy witnessing the desperate final resistance of the Nazi regime in his hometown. The movie, with visually stunning cinematography and seamless transitions between comedy and drama, explores fanaticism, indoctrination, and innocence in one of history’s darkest periods.

Jojo is a naive, sweet boy who wants to fit in and become a hero. Raised under heavy influence of the Nazi propaganda machine, he ardently idolizes Adolf Hitler, even dreaming up an exaggeratedly effeminate version of the dictator to serve as his confidante and best friend. Yet, beneath the aura of fanaticism is a boy with many healthy values, and his experiences soon lead him to question everything he thinks he knows about life.

One thing that sets the film apart is its divergence from portrayals of WWII that center on the bold deeds of soldiers or resistance fighters who turned the tides of the war. In fact, the movie’s setting is perfect for a story about such a character: Toward the end of the war, while Germany is facing imminent defeat and the disintegration of the Nazi regime, and soldiers are coming home wounded and devastated by the horrors of the battlefield, Jojo is preparing to become a savior of Nazi Germany. The very first scene depicts his determination to do so: . . .

Jojo Rabbit is a profound story about self-discovery and redemption in one of history’s darkest periods.
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