Jojo Rabbit (2019) :The film is a little too sprightly to land any heavy punches — it’s more of a comedy with satirical elements than a true satirical tale. Based on Christine Leunens’s 2008 novel Caging Skies (but with some big changes, courtesy of Waititi), it’s really a coming-of-age story, about a kid who’s gotten lost in a world where loyalty has displaced love and where bravado has displaced true bravery.
It’s a bold move to marry a coming-of-age story, which Jojo sets at the end of the Third Reich, to Waititi’s signature goofball aesthetic and frenetic self-awareness. And the film is more successful in some moments than others. But by the end, it’s obvious what Jojo Rabbit is really about: How hate preys on the weak and the young, and how history keeps repeating itself.
At home he mourns that he’ll never be part of (real) Hitler’s guard now, what with the scars on his face and his slightly hampered physical ability. But he thinks he may have found another way to serve the Führer when he discovers a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) living in the walls of his house, hidden there by his mother. Both repulsed by and drawn to Elsa, he starts spending more time with her. And as the war rages on outside, he starts, almost imperceptibly, to grow up.