Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★★★

It is my sincerest hope that as the film distances itself from the unfounded criticism that it received leading up to its release and that as our nation distances itself from an era to which Taika Waititi obviously intended to draw parallels, that history will ultimately regard Jojo Rabbit as the brilliant anti-nationalist and humanist film that it is.

From the opening credits sequence using the German-language version of The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" to compare Hitler's rise to power with the Beatlemania craze (a stroke of genius that doesn't get talked about enough) to the razor-sharp wit littered throughout the script to the expertly executed development of Jojo's character to the caricature of the imaginary Hitler to represent the insecurity, fear and toxic masculinity that demagogues like Hitler (and Trump) feed on to enlist weak-minded souls to their cause to the astoundingly effective foreshadowing leading to the film's harrowing third act to the commentary on "fake news" and "alternative facts" that must be spread in order to dupe almost an entire population into believing just an obvious (in hindsight) crock of lies to the turn-on-a-dime serious moments that remind us that while ridiculous, blind fanaticism and nationalism are no laughing matters and can have deadly consequences...every single aspect of this film's script is absolutely perfect. Add to that incredible performances by Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Roman Griffin Davis and wonderful cinematography that channels Waititi's whimsical style, and you have one of the very best films of 2018 and frankly one of the best anti-war films in recent memory.

Anybody who could watch the final 20 minutes of this film and accuse Waititi of making light of Nazism, Hitler's rise to power or the Holocaust has completely and utterly missed the point, and I wonder how many of the people who waged these criticisms against the film prior to and immediately following its release actually bothered to see it. I've seen the film twice now and have been reduced to a blubbering mess of tears each time, and I hope that potential viewers don't let these misguided criticisms stop them from giving this film a chance, because it offers some very timely insight into how certain aspects of our current society (the results of the 2020 election notwithstanding) can be allowed to fester into something even more widespread and insidious than it already is. I believe that that commentary is even more relevant now given events that have taken place since the film's release, namely Trump's attack on the integrity of our democratic process and the attempted insurrection by blind fanatic followers of a crazed lunatic at our nation's Capitol.

I encourage anybody who hasn't seen this film to give it a chance while it's still on HBO; I promise that it is nothing like its detractors want you to believe it is. I suspect that history will remember Jojo Rabbit as one of the great protest films of the Trump era.

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