JOJO RABBIT Review — A Gorgeous, Compelling and Comedic Surprise

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JoJo Rabbit review — One of my favorite films of the year so far, star/writer/director Taika Waititi has created something extraordinarily special.

JoJo Rabbit reviewWhen my husband heard that Jojo Rabbit is about a fledgling member of the Hitler Youth and his imaginary friend, Der Fuhrer, he passed on going to the screening with me. “Hitler is not funny,” he told me.

Then I reminded him that comedic geniuses like Mel Brooks and Charlie Chaplin had also taken potshots at Hitler using comedy as a medium, and he was somewhat swayed.

Let me tell you right up front that the film is an anti-hate satire, the story of how a lonely young German boy learns to buck the insane political and social system around him and reach out in love, which is pretty much all he has left. And Jojo Rabbit is brilliant.

That’s almost entirely due to the efforts of phenominal director Taika Waititi, whose mother is Jewish and father is Maori. The helmer behind Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok adapted the screenplay and also takes on the role of a goofy Hitler, who shows up whenever Jojo (played sublimely by newcomer Roman Griffin Davis) is in need of a friend.

There are stellar performances all around in this film, especially from Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Stephen Merchant and Rebel Wilson. Waititi is able to help them walk the narrow line between tragedy and humor, creating an extraordinary depth that most comedies never achieve.

As Jojo discovers secrets in the walls, and learns life lessons that can be applied universally, you will find yourself alternately laughing and crying, but continuously dazzled by Waititi’s vaguely Wes Anderson-esque style. This, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, are my favorite films of the year so far.

Rated PG-13

1 Hour 48 Minutes

If, after reading this Jojo Rabbit review, you feel like hopping down to the theater so see it, get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

JoJo Rabbit review — One of my favorite films of the year so far, star/writer/director Taika Waititi has created something extraordinarily special.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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