Let everything happen to you, Beauty and terror, Just keep going, No feeling is final,
- Rainer Maria Rilke
This snippet sums up the entire story, wait... it sums up entire life itself.
Adolf Hitler- a name as powerful as his influence, a personality that stood against the entire world, and a character whose actions were soaked with unjust hatred towards Jews. Millions of men and women, young and adult alike looked down at the Jews with disgust under the blind influence of the Fuhrer. But I believe there was a minority that didn’t get under the nefarious influence and treated the Jews like humans.
Jojo Rabbit is the story of a mother who belonged to that minority and her 10 yr old son to the majority.
Director - Taika Waititi
Actors - Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi
Language - English
Streaming - Disney+Hotstar
Set in the times of second world war, in Germany, the story narrates the journey of a kid Jojo (played by Roman Griffin) whose life ambition is to work directly in close association with Hitler. The kid is immersed so deep in Hitlerism that he imagines Hitler( played by Taika Waititi) and talks with him on a regular basis. He stays along with his mother (played by Scarlett Johansson) who acts like a pro-Nazi in the eyes of the world that she lives in, but secretly takes part in protests and helps Jews.
Jojo, at the age of 10 takes part in the Hitlers army training camp where young children are taught about warfare like usage of guns and ammunition, self defense techniques, and also that Jews look grotesque with horns, tail etc. and are meant to be killed. The training begins with rigour and progresses with humor. In an unfortunate but tummy chuckling incident, Jojo drops a bomb right next to him and is unforgivably injured. Despite the injuries, Jojo pesters his mom to let him be associated with Hitler work. His mother finally gives into his demands and gets him assigned the task of sticking pro Hitler posters and removing anti Hitler stickers around the town.
While enjoying his stint tearing down anti Hitler posters around the town JoJo is startled by an incident that shakes up his belief system and sets the little mind questioning.
Visually the movie is stunning from the very first frame. The choice of costumes, color palette, and the locations transport us to Germany of the yore. The best scenes include JoJo's confrontation with his mother at dinner and conversations with Hitler at regular intervals.
JoJo is cute, innocent, and a timid child who transforms into a courageous kid by the end. Some of his scenes are brilliantly written brimming with intelligent humor. The scenes where Jojo and his best buddy Yorki meet to share each other's thoughts are a proof of hilarity.
Acting and the story flow seem very organic. Though there are a couple of scenes that you feel are a bit of trope, the writer turns into something new and it will catch you off guard.
Apart from the humour, the writer takes us through the emotional journey of a Jew. The catastrophic destruction of human values and human lives under the tyranny of Fuhrer are shown through the eyes of a 10 year old kid. We beleive in a kids view because he is completely unbiased and pure.
Probably that's the reason why the director chose a kid as his lead. Showing us the cruel treatment of Jews through the lens of a 10 yr old gets us to empathize with the loss they are undergoing. And the director successfully communicates his vision.
Available on Disney Hotstar.
Bottomline - You'll not want to miss this one for sure. Let's learn to look at things with a kids lens and we too can make better judgements.