starring Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson
screenplay by Taika Waititi, based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens
directed by Taika Waititi
by Walter Chaw Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit is an instantly divisive film sure to inflame not for being divisive in and of itself, but possibly because it's not divisive enough. It's a feel-good, warmhearted movie about, however tangentially, the Holocaust, earning it immediate unkind comparisons in some quarters to Life is Beautiful; and it's a satire of the simple-minded venality of Nazism and white supremacy, thus earning it kinder comparisons to The Great Dictator. In truth, it's both: it's unforgivably light, given its subject, and it's effectively unfortunately broad in its condemnation of Nazis, though considering Nazis are once again a thing and the "good guys" are advocating for giving them a spot at the ideological table, I mean...can anything be dumbed-down and obvious enough? By the same token, the issue I have with Jojo Rabbit is its essential hopefulness: the belief that people who adopt certain toxic ideas and ideologies can ever change. I think it's possible but exceedingly rare. Jojo Rabbit believes the opposite: that horrible ideas can flare, even flourish, for a time, but that the essential decency of humanity will save us. Waititi is Rousseau. I am Hobbes. Jojo Rabbit only offends me in its suggestion that there are good Nazis worth saving. This is admittedly more my shortcoming than the film's.