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Awards: Oscar, BAFTA, AACTA (Oz) & Writers Guild best adapted screenplay
Taika Waititi is an incredibly smart guy and he uses humour as a way for people to look at things in a different light and to make some subjects more accessible to the younger generations or just to people in general. In order to live in this world together in harmony, we’ve got to understand that everyone has a different outlook in life. People have different beliefs, religions, are from different cultures, ethnicities, different backgrounds, genders. Everyone has a different way of life.
It’s so very enjoyable, not to mention offbeat and bizarre, all in a good way.
There are several dozen ways this movie could have gone wrong, but, incredibly, Waititi has threaded his way past most of them.
Jojo is a lonely German boy who discovers that his single mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his imaginary friend – Adolf Hitler – Jojo must confront his blind nationalism as World War II continues to rage on.
Waititi’s film is filled with colourful characters, from his own demented portrayal of Hitler to biting takes on dum-dum military bigwigs like Sam Rockwell’s Captain Klenzendorf and Rebel Wilson’s book-burning Fraulein Rahm. As Thomasin McKenzie’s Elsa comes further out of her shell, she changes both Roman Griffin Davis’ eponymous Jojo and the film’s tricky tone. It’s funny, but not devoid of real stakes, and they exist because Elsa does and Jojo can’t deny her humanity once he is forced to confront their shared beingness.
USA 2019, 104 min, rated M (violence & content that may disturb)
Directed by Taika Waititi
Based on Caging Skies by Christine Leunens
Starring Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis, Sam Rockwell, Thomasin McKenzie & Stephen Merchant