Jojo Rabbit, based on Christine Leunen’s 2008 novel Caging Skies, is about a 10-year-old boy who idolizes Adolf Hitler and dreams of becoming a Nazi. So Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) joins the Hitler Youth, where he is taught terrible, evil stereotypes about Jews and learns how to blow “shtuff” up. But when he discovers his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a Jewish teen girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home, everything changes. Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit is already getting rave reviews, albeit some feel uneasy about the film’s focus on Nazi Germany.
It took director and writer Waititi (who identifies as a Polynesian Jew) eight years to make and finish Jojo Rabbit, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In fact, he was the one who decided Jojo needed an imaginary friend, and that imaginary friend should be Hitler (Waititi) — the Hitler character doesn’t exist in the novel. It took a long, long time for the film to get made, with many producers and actors hesitant to get involved in a film about Nazis and a boy’s imaginary friend who happens to be Hitler. Despite what it might sound like, Jojo Rabbit doesn’t humanize the Nazis or Hitler — it mocks them, and instead shines a light on how beautiful compassion and kindness can be, and what a difference they make in such an ugly time in our history.
For those of you who’ve been patiently waiting for Jojo Rabbit to hit the screen and plan on seeing it, here’s a quick primer on the amazing cast that truly make the movie.