Jojo Rabbit

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

5/5 (1)

Not since Mel Brooks’s “Springtime for Hitler” has Der Fuehrer took such a ribbing. “Jojo Rabbit” is a strange little satire that manages to find humor in unfunny subjects like Nazi stormtroopers.

During World War II, Johannes “Jojo” Betzler is a ten-year-old Hitler Youth member who discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl.

What to do?

Jojo poses the question to his imaginary friend, an idiotic version of Adolf Hitler.

Jojo threatens to turn Elsa Korr over to the Gestapo, but is warned that his mother would be killed for harboring the teenage girl. So he agrees to keep the secret in return for Elsa revealing her Jewish secrets. Whatever that might be.

Jojo Rabbit got his nickname from the older boys at the youth training camp for refusing to kill a bunny rabbit. At the urging of his imaginary friend, he tosses a hand grenade at the mean boys, but it explodes at his feet, leaving him with facial scars and a limp.

The chaos at the end of the war leaves Jojo confused about his relationship with Elsa, especially when each of them must pretend to be somebody else to avoid disaster.

“Jojo Rabbit” is still telling its warped little story at Tropic Cinema.

Roman Griffin Davis makes his debut as Jojo. Scarlett Johansson plays his mom. Thomasin McKenzie takes on the role of Elsa. And Taika Waititi is the imaginary Adolf Hitler.

Rounding out the cast are Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, and Stephen Merchant.

Death, Nazis, hangings, war atrocities – how can that be funny, you ask? This is a black comedy … and somehow it works.

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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