“Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight)
By Catholic News Service
Writer-director Taika Waititi’s thoroughly offbeat satire, adapted from Christine Leunens’ 2004 novel “Caging Skies,” pretty much exemplifies the expression “not to all tastes” since it sees Waititi also playing a young German boy’s vision of Adolf Hitler as his imaginary friend during the final year of World War II.
Roman Griffin Davis is Jojo, a 10-year-old seduced by what he’s learned in the Hitler Youth, at least until a teenage Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) hidden by his mother (Scarlett Johansson) begins to challenge his blind nationalism. Waititi shows, often in a deadpan way, the deadly consequences of surrendering to ideologies that marginalize entire categories of humanity and the singular evil of inculcating children with hateful beliefs. Viewers interested in challenging, thoughtful fare will be left with much to consider.
Mature themes, images of the aftermath of executions, anti-Semitic dialogue, a single rough term, fleeting crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.