The second World War was a nasty business. It seemed like it became a bizarre game of “follow the leader” for adults. As portrayed in Oscar-nominated JoJo Rabbit, the Germans seem brain dead from sniffing explosives and gunpowder, each one desperate to be king of the hill. Daddy issues thrust Hitler into the father role for a desperate nation who were being sanctioned to death by the United States and her allies after World War Ein.
This satire is a little masterpiece. Yes, it is a comedy, although there should be nothing to laugh about given the subject matter. Yes, it is a tragedy, with plenty to cry about as a lonely boy grows up with his single mother who has to fend for herself while her husband is away at war. The boy is an only child who gets an imaginary playmate–Adolph Hitler–played by the director, Taika Waititi himself. Jojo then goes off to Hitler Youth camp with his happy-go-lucky pal and adventure ensues.
Things get complicated when Jojo discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the Attic. The girl sparks questions about Jojo’s humanity. Poor Jojo wants to be the perfect Brownshirt, however, life always has its own plans.
This film is a must-see. You will be laughing and crying at the irony, the sadness and the nincompoopary of this offbeat and mischievous tale. It was nominated for a Golden Globe and now an Oscar. Is it too soon? Is this story before its time? 70 years later, and maybe even forever, is still too soon for this little comic landmine.