“You’re growing up too fast. Ten-year-olds shouldn’t be celebrating war and talking politics. You should be climbing trees and then falling out of those trees.”Rosie Betzler
It’s disappointing to have to call a satire of Nazism timely two decades into the twenty-first century, but such is the present state of the world. Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit is frequently funny in skewering inane propaganda-driven views of Jews and the Allied armies, though its satire is content to show up these ideas as ridiculous rather than delving much deeper. It is heartbreaking to see a child manipulated into such baseless hatred and the film’s dramatic side is far darker. These tonal shifts are often jarring, leaving the film a somewhat disjointed experience rather than feeling like a cohesive whole. The script often feels like one of Wes Anderson’s weaker projects but Waititi’s direction and his caricature of Hitler (as the the titular Jojo’s imaginary best friend) keep things energetic throughout. Ultimately, however, despite at least one dramatic punch, a weak resolution takes the sting out of the satire, leaving little to take away from the experience. Except that Nazism is ignorant and stupid. So that’s good.