You know the cinematic handiwork of Taika Waititi when you see it: An oddball sense of humor that eschews quirk in favor of a certain realism—it’s goofy but heartfelt, though not without heartache. Jojo Rabbit is no exception, and yet its mere premise is exceptional: A World War II film told through the eyes of a little German boy whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler. Well, imaginary friend is sort of a stretch; this Adolf, played by Waititi himself (which adds another delirious layer to the film), is more like a naughty cartoon devil on the shoulder of JoJo (Roman Griffin Davis)—who’s torn between the horrific but easily digestible ideologies that have taken over his country and the simple spirit of kindness his mother (Scarlett Johansson) tries to instill in him.
That relationship is front and center in this clip from Jojo Rabbit, which is also a nice little distillation of the film’s humor and heart. Jojo’s mother tries to impress upon him that love is “the strongest thing in the world,” to which he smartly replies that the strongest thing in the world is actually metal, “followed closely by dynamite and muscles.” Jojo Rabbit recently played both Fantastic Fest and TIFF, where it received largely positive reviews (with a few exceptions) ahead of its October 18 release date. Here’s the official synopsis:
Writer director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.