On paper, the plot of writer/director Taiki Waititi’s film, Jojo Rabbit, resembles one of the more tasteless things attempted by a mainstream film in recent memory. Here we have a ten-year old boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), living in Nazi Germany under the Hitler regime, who regularly pretends to have conversations with an imaginary version of Adolf himself, played by the director. Thankfully, this isn’t the extent of the film’s plot.

Things take an even more startling turn when Jojo discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is distributing anti Nazi propaganda and harboring a Jewish girl (Thomasin Mckenzie) upstairs in his home. To top it all off, Jojo also finds himself having romantic feelings for the fugitive in his place of residence. To say this creates inner turmoil in Jojo is an understatement.

Taiki Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis in Jojo Rabbit07

The film’s attempts at humor in its opening section will either register or it won’t, it didn’t with me, depending on what the viewer finds funny. It’s when Jojo Rabbit takes a surprising dramatic turn in its home stretch that it finally registers and satisfies in a way that I couldn’t have anticipated. For that reason alone, it’s worth a look.

Jojo Rabbit is playing everywhere. Making Waves will be in theaters soon.

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