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"It's definitely not a good time to be a Nazi."
Yorki
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Jojo Rabbit is a 2019 American Black Comedy film written by, directed by and starring Taika Waititi. It is loosely based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens.

Jojo (first-timer Roman Griffin Davis), a shy boy living in the Third Reich, wants to become a Nazi so he can fit in. Accompanying him is his Imaginary Friend Adolf, a caricature of Adolf Hitler (Waititi).

While Jojo struggles to fit in, his mother (Scarlett Johansson) rescues a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) and hides her in their home. When Jojo meets Elsa, he begins to have second thoughts about joining the Nazis.

Also stars Sam Rockwell as Captain Klenzendorf, Rebel Wilson as Fräulein Raahm, Stephen Merchant as Gestapo Captain Deertz and Alfie Allen as Freddie Finkel.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer.


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Heil tropes!

  • Adolf Hitlarious: Hitler chews the scenery every time he appears and acts like a large child, except for when he shows up at the end, after the real Hitler has committed suicide; he's disheveled, has a bleeding gunshot wound in the head, and frantically rants at Jojo, demanding that they turn Elsa in, and pleading with him to give him a "heil."
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Played With all over the place. Jojo himself is a member of the Hitler Youth and has been warped by the Nazi Party's propaganda, but lacks to will to actually commit the atrocities expected of him. As Elsa puts it, Jojo is really just "a 10-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club." Captain Klenzendorf is a ranking member of the Third Reich army, but it's clear he's become disillusioned by the leadership's racial politics and is more interested in preparing the town for the inevitable invasion by the Allies than persecuting minorities. He even covers for Elsa for the Gestapo when he could have easily arrested her for being a Jew. And as it turns out, both of Jojo's parents are active members of the German resistance. There's still Fräulein Rahm and Captain Deertz who play this straight, being wholly committed to the party cause to their deaths.
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  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: While it's said that Jojo's father is off fighting in the war, we don't ever learn for certain if he survived as the film ends right after the town gets liberated.
  • Anachronistic Soundtrack: The trailer prominently features a German-language cover of "I'm a Believer", and the film features German versions of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Heroes" by David Bowie. In fact, the latter song is about two lovers divided by the Berlin Wall!
  • And Starring: "With Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson."
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Freddie Finkel is a dog, shown by his attachment to Captain Klenzendorf and his mix up with the German Shepherds.
    • Rosie is a tiger.
    • Elsa is a butterfly.
    • Most obviously of the animal motifs is Jojo, as a rabbit.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end, the only confirmed named survivors are Jojo, Elsa, and Yorki. Rosie and Klenzendorf are dead, Fräulein Rahm is almost certainly dead, Deertz being a member of the Gestapo and captured by the Soviets is likely going to be executed, Finkel's fate isn't seen, but considering he was practically connected to Klenzendorf at the hip, he probably shared Klenzendorf's fate. And not only is the real Hitler dead, but Jojo also kicks his imaginary ex-friend version of him out the window.
  • Arc Words: Multiple variations of "do what you can" are said throughout the movie, always referring to people opposing the Nazis from the inside.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: When Jojo and Imaginary Hitler simultaneously voice their solutions for how to deal with Elsa.
    Jojo: I will negotiate.
    Hitler: Burn down the house and blame Winston Churchill.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Waititi's Hitler gets up to all kinds of antics that would be out of character for the historical Hitler. Examples include several instances of Hitler offering Jojo a cigarette, and one of him eating Unicorn for dinner. The real Hitler quit smoking in 1919, and during the war he followed a vegetarian diet. This is justified (A) because the Hitler in the movie is just Jojo's imaginary version of him, and (B) as a deliberate creative choice. Waititi didn't spend any time researching or preparing for the role of Hitler, explaining that, “I just made him a version of myself that happened to have a bad haircut and a shitty little mustache. And a mediocre German accent. It would just be too weird to play the actual Hitler, and I don’t think people would enjoy the character as much.” Besides, he considers Hitler to have been such an evil wanker that he doesn’t deserve the effort of an accurate portrayal.
    • Towards the end you see both Soviet and American troops policing up Jojo's hometown shortly after Hitler's suicide. In reality, the Western Allies stopped at the Elbe River, and would not have jointly occupied any German territory at the time of Germany's surrender. (Allied troops would not have entered West Berlin until several months later.)
    • There is also no concern over who will occupy them and the allies are treated as a monolith. Rosie, as a resistance member would be less concerned with destabilizing the Nazi regime at point, and more focused on going to a place where the Soviets wouldn't capture her or Jojo, unless she had strong communist sympathies. In fact, there isn't much worry on the part of Rosie of being blown up, even if by accident, by the allies. Easily justified though, as a more realistic depiction of the attitudes of German civilians at this time wouldn't really do anything for the narrative.
    • During dinner, Rosie says that the Allies have liberated Italy and will soon liberate France, and then the war will be over. Italy changed sides in 1943, and the Germans held onto Northern Italy until the end of the war. France was fully liberated by September 1944.
    • Jojo's Hitler mentions "That pirate Von Stauffenberg" trying to assassinate him "last year." The Valkyrie plot took place on July 20, 1944, yet winter passes later in the film...which, taken literally, means the war ended in 1946.
    • Jojo's father was said to have gone missing in action in Italy "two years ago." Since the war ends after a winter time skip, that means the bulk of the movie takes place in 1944, meaning Jojo's father disappeared in 1942...except Italy wasn't invaded until September 1943 (July if you count the invasion of Sicily).
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: Translation Convention aside, the "German Shepherds" Visual Pun would never happen due to miscommunication among German speakers, because the German Shepherd dog breed is actually referred to as Schäferhunde – literally, "shepherd dogs" – in Germany.
  • Baby Factory: The girls at Hitler Youth camp are told their duty to their country will be to make children. Fräulein Rahm states she's had eighteen kids.
  • Badass Boast: First Jojo claims that "Aryans" are the Master Race, and there's no way he'll be beaten by a Jew. Then Elsa totally overpowers him and says that the Jews are God's chosen people, who wrestled with angels and defeated giants.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: The only effect that living in a cubbyhole for at least several months has on Elsa's appearance is that her hair is unkempt. In one scene, she calls herself a "dirty Jew" (both commenting on her physical state and sardonically referencing Nazi propaganda), which prompts Jojo to give her a bath, but she never really looked dirty to begin with. She remains attractive enough throughout the film for Jojo to develop quite a crush on her.
  • BFG: Fräulein Rahm goes into battle with an MG-42 and is promptly killed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jojo loses his mother and is badly traumatized, but he has a Heel Realization and sees the Nazi party for the fascistic nutcases they were, surviving the war with Elsa and will presumably reunite with his father.
  • Black Comedy: The film runs on this throughout, presenting wacky antics and colorful characters without shying away from the horror of them participating in the indoctrination of children into bloodthirsty killers and living under a genocidal fascist rule. It crosses the line several times in the climax, when War Is Hell is played for all its tragedy without the jokes stopping and reaches its peak when Fräulein Rahm sticks a live grenade into a young Hitler Youth's belt and pushes him out from behind cover, telling him to go hug an Allied soldier.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • When Jojo insists Elsa tell him what Jews are like, she amuses herself by making up absurd claims, taking the piss out of the Nazi propaganda Jojo has already been fed.
    • Yorki gets a uniform that's clearly made out of paper, but the supply people claim it's actually a highly advanced new material that's only "paper-like."
    • Jojo reads a letter purportedly from Elsa's fiance that childishly insults her, only to regret it afterwards and try to fix it by claiming that he's just remembered another letter that contradicts some of the meaner things the earlier letter said.
  • Bling of War: Klentzendorf creates a flamboyant uniform for his last stand, which incorporates bright colors, feathers, and shiny bits.
  • Blunt "Yes": Hitler's response when Jojo asks him if he thinks he's ugly with his scars.
  • Book Burning: An early scene features the Hitler Youth enthusiastically burning books.
  • Book-Ends:
    • When Jojo and his mother prepare to leave their house for the first time after Jojo blows himself up with a grenade at camp near the beginning, Jojo asks if it's dangerous outside, his mother jokingly answers that it's extremely dangerous. At the end, when Jojo and Elsa leave (Elsa for the first time since she arrived at their house), she asks him if it's dangerous outside, he gives the same answer his mother did.
    • The "Jojo Betzler, age 10" mirror monologue. Stated at the beginning and paired with Jojo trying to psych himself up going to the Hitler Youth camp, stated at the end with Jojo about to lead Elsa outside and show her the American troops have freed the city from Nazi control.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Imaginary Hitler delivers this:
    "My empire will be full of all animals. Lions, giraffes, zebras, rhinoceroses, octopuses, rhinoctopuses."
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Jojo is traumatized when he finds his mother hanged as a traitor in the middle of the town square. All he can do is tearfully hug her dangling legs.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Imaginary Hitler casually mentions he'll be having unicorn for dinner, which he does on camera in a later scene.
    • During the climactic battle scene, we see the German Shepards from earlier fighting in the street.
  • Broken Pedestal: Jojo has this towards Hitler as the mounting evidence of how idiotic Nazism is begins to get to him (especially after they kill his mother), but more explicitly when he hears he committed suicide in order to escape facing the Allies for what he had done. The next time he imagines Hitler, his image is dishevelled, his Affably Evil gimmick has faded, and he quickly crumbles when Jojo lashes out, showing how low his opinion of the Fuhrer has become.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • People don't have much of a filter throughout the film and will often bluntly say things that are rude or downright insulting to or about others in their presence. This includes a Running Gag where people will blithely call Jojo a deformed freak right in front of him. Justified by the fact a lot of characters have bought into ridiculous Nazi propaganda, and someone with such a minor disfigurement as Jojo's would be low-rung among society.
    • Captain Deertz, the stern and intimidating Gestapo leader, enjoys seeing Jojo's room decked out in posters of Hitler. It's the one moment where he actually looks genuinely happy, while simultaneously stating he wishes more young people showed the same "blind fanaticism" as Jojo. It actually shocks Jojo to hear it.
  • Bunny Ears Picture Prank: In the poster, Jojo poses confidently, but his image is spoiled by the bunny-ear fingers above his head.
  • ...But He Sounds Handsome: Jojo shills himself in one of Nathan's letters to Elsa. She knowingly smiles.
    "Thank God you're being taken care of by that kid who I must say is a remarkable young man beyond his years. And brave, too."
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Jojo sees a blue butterfly on the town square and follows it. It leads him to the gallows where he discovers his mother's dead body.
  • Call-Back:
    • Elsa says that the first thing she'll do when she's free is dance. In the end, when Elsa realizes that the Allies have won the war after all, she starts dancing, and Jojo joins her.
    • Jojo is shown to be unable to snap his fingers at camp with Yorki, and Imaginary Hitler mentions he can't tie his own shoelaces despite being ten. In the final scene he's able to do both, tying Elsa's shoelaces before going outside, then snapping his fingers when they start dancing to "Heroes".
  • Central Theme:
    • Groupthink causes people to do horrible things. Learn to think for yourself and be your own person.
    • Hatred of others comes from ignorance. Get out there and meet people who are different from you and you’ll find they’re just people like anyone else.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang:
    • The Hitler Youth knife. It's the first weapon he uses after finding Elsa, which promptly gets taken from him. When Captain Deertz shows up, Jojo is almost placed under interrogation when it's discovered to be still missing. Elsa also nearly blows her cover by disguising as his dead sister Inge to return it to him.
    • Jojo can't tie his own shoes. His mother Rosie ties them for him once, then ties them together as a joke in their last interaction. When Jojo next finds Rosie hanged in the square, he sees her shoe is untied. He finally manages to tie shoes at the end, after Elsa puts some on to leave when the city is liberated.
  • Child Soldiers: What the Hitler Youth are essentially prepared to become with their training in military weapons and tactics. Played tragically straight in the climax.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: A Running Gag. Imaginary Hitler repeatedly smokes cigarettes due to stress, and keeps on offering Jojo some, until Jojo snaps at him that a ten-year-old can't smoke.
  • City with No Name: The town the story is set in is never named.
  • Clone Army: Part of the Hitlerjugend consists of several identical blond boys, who apparently need to be fed and walked like dogs. Several of the clones die during the climax.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In one scene, Imaginary Hitler responds to Jojo's puzzlement about his mother's actions by asking her directly what she's doing. Jojo points out that she can't hear him — so he asks again, louder.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Inverted. By the start of the film, Jojo has already been brainwashed into the Jew-hating fanatic the Nazi Party expects him to be. His Character Development and friendship with Elsa help him realize he's fighting on the wrong side.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: When the Gestapo arrive at Jojo's house, Elsa pretends to be Jojo's dead sister Inge. After demanding her ID papers, the officers have Klenzendorf quiz her biological information contained in Inge's ID papers, to which he pauses, and after a minute, accepts her answer. Except that after Klenzendorf and the Gestapo leave, she tells Jojo that she accidentally gave Inge's birthday as May 1 when the right answer was May 7. Klenzendorf covered for her, figuring out that she was a Jew and protecting her from the Gestapo anyway, after having earlier told Jojo that he should report any Jews he finds and the Gestapo would take them away.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Klenzendorf manages to spare Jojo from a Soviet firing squad by ripping off a military jacket the boy was wearing, yelling and spitting at him to make the Russian soldiers think he's a Jew and send him away.
  • Dad's Off Fighting in the War: Jojo's father is off fighting as La Résistance.
  • Dance Party Ending: The movie ends with Jojo and Elsa dancing together, as a Call-Back to Rosie remarking that once they're free of the war she'll dance.
  • Dead Guy on Display: The hanged corpses of people executed for disloyalty to Hitler and the party are displayed in the town square. Jojo eventually finds his mother among them.
    Jojo: What did they do?
    Rosie: What they could.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: When the Gestapo searches the house, Elsa pretends to be Jojo's dead sister Inge.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: At the start of the film Jojo is creepily teetering on being a real Nazi and being swept up in Nazi propaganda.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Elsa and Jojo do this to each other. Jojo becomes gradually obsessed with Elsa, who proceeds to be nicer to Jojo in every one of his talks with her, causing him to become nicer as he sees she's not anything like what he's been taught, and she gradually comes to trust him more as he sheds his Nazi beliefs.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Jojo eventually accepts the fact that his romantic feelings for Elsa won't ever be requited (although she grows to love him as a little brother), but still affirms to Imaginary Hitler that he's in love with her. He also lets her leave in the end, even though he's now left with no one.
  • Dirty Communists: Parodied when Yorki parrots propaganda to Jojo that the Russians eat babies and have sex with dogs.
  • Disappeared Dad: Jojo's father is never present throughout the movie, as he is stationed in Italy. It's later revealed that both he and Rosie are both participants in anti-Nazi resistance.
  • Dramatic Irony: Jojo getting a face full of grenade is probably the safest thing to happen to him, since the injuries kept him from fighting on the front line.
  • Dying Smirk: After saving Jojo's life by treating him as a Jew while in Russian custody, Captain Klenzendorf is dragged away to be summarily executed, all the while bearing a stoic smile on his face, even as Jojo futilely screams and tries to struggle out of a Russian soldier's grip to save him.
  • Easily Forgiven: From Elsa toward Jojo. After seeing his mother dead, Jojo tries to stab Elsa in the shoulder, only getting the knife in just past the point before Elsa grabs his hands, and removes it. Elsa has lost her parents too, and she now knows Jojo well enough to guess that his misplaced, momentary hatred will give way to his better nature when she shows him sympathy. For his part, Jojo comes to realize that Elsa isn’t to blame for what his mother did freely and with a full understanding of the risks, and regrets having harmed Elsa while his emotions were corrupted by grief.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Jojo Rabbit" comes from the other kids mocking Jojo for refusing to kill a rabbit.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • At a book-burning during the Hitler Youth camp all the adults are shown engaging in the antics and encouraging the destruction with animated gusto. Captain Klenzendorf, meanwhile, stands in the background with a neutral expression on his face, drinking heavily from his flask. While he's willing to die for Germany, he does not believe in the politics of the Third Reich itself.
    • The book burning also has one for Jojo. At first, he's enthusiastic and throwing books in with the rest of the Hitler Youth. There's actually a moment where he stops and looks at the fire with a confused expression on his face, then proceeds to look around. When he sees the other boys getting excited and throwing more books on, he gets excited again, but doesn't throw another book for the rest of the scene. He's impressionable, but there's a heart of gold in there somewhere and he just wants to fit in.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Jojo throws a grenade. It hits a tree, then comes back to him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Nazis in general. Despite ranging from Adorkable to charismatic, they're still indoctrinating children into joining a fascist regime. The only real exception is Captain Klenzendorf.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Rosie enters several scenes foot first, identified by her distinctive shoes. These are done to establish her trademark footwear for The Reveal of her hanged body, which is only seen from the feet and identified by her shoes.
  • The Film of the Book: The film is based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, albeit with many differences between book and film
  • First Law of Tragicomedies: The film gets ever-so-gradually less farcical until the death of Rosie shoves the movie into something more like a straightforward war drama with some jokes.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Several lingering shots focus intently on Rosie's distinctive shoes, most glaringly the scene at the swimming pool where she cavorts on a ledge above Jojo, only her shoes and some of her ankles visible. Jojo discovers his mother's hanged body from the shoes up and the rest of her body not shown, making us only see her from Jojo's eye level.
    • Rosie tells Elsa that she reminds her of her deceased daughter, Inge. Later, Elsa passes herself off as Inge.
    • Jojo makes a comment about Jews loving ugly things. At the time he says it, he considers himself ugly because of his injuries, and over the course of the film Else comes to love him as a brother.
    • When Jojo mentions that he has an imaginary friend, Captain Klenzendorf replies "I had an imaginary friend. Always wetting my bed while I was asleep! Got me in so much trouble."
    • Captain Klenzendorf is introduced listing off how easily preventable the mistake that got him demoted was, expresses the belief Germany is fighting a losing battle, and generally appears to take his job with little to no seriousness. The fact he's secretly a Token Good Teammate makes it pretty clear he was probably doing this on purpose as a means of protesting the party he doesn't support.
    • When the Gestapo arrive to search Jojo's house, they ask him if he knows where his mother is, drawing attention to her recent absence. Shortly after, we find out she's been hanged for being part of La Résistance.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Elsa was a friend of Jojo's sister Inge and met Jojo before, but he doesn't remember her at all.
  • Gesundheit: After forcing Jojo to call her "a jew" (sounding like he is sneezing), Elsa replies with a condescending "Gesundheit".
  • The Ghost: Jojo's father is never seen out of pictures, but he's still a very important figure for his wife and son, and even a source of inspiration for them, for very different reasons at first.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Elsa claims that she has a boyfriend named Nathan whom she plans to reunite with once the war is over. She later reveals that Nathan died from tuberculosis over a year ago.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Jojo's facial scars from his grenade accident are quite minor and objectively have very little effect on his appearance. Jojo is nevertheless overly self-conscious about them, a fact that isn't helped by the Running Gag of insensitive people exaggerating how hideous his scars look.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted with the Germans who were hanged in the town square, we see their hanging bodies clearly. Later played straight later when Jojo finds his mother, Rosie, has been hanged exactly the same way. We only see her legs and then a shot of her from behind. Also played straight with the Nazis who are executed by the Soviets.
  • Greedy Jew: Elsa plays along with Jojo's prejudices by "confessing" that Jews love money and shiny things.
  • Groin Attack: Klenzendorf gets one in the nuts by Rosie.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold:
    • Rosie is as blonde as Jojo, and is a very compassionate person who opposes the Nazis as part of the German resistance.
    • Although in general, this trope is deconstructed in the film. Blondness is one of the characteristics prized by the Nazis' white supremacist ideology, and Jojo himself was upset when he found out that his grandfather wasn't blond. By the end, however, Jojo has learned that physical appearance or race doesn't make someone inherently better. His mother was good — not because she's blonde, or an Aryan (as people like Fräulein Rahm are this, yet utterly vile); but because of her kindness.
  • Harmful to Minors: Naturally, as the Hitler Youths are being trained to become child soldiers and Baby Factories, depending on gender. There are also the Nazis' countless Jewish victims, many of whom are undoubtedly as young or younger than teenage Elsa.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jojo, over the course of the movie, goes from being a blind follower of Nazism to telling Hitler to fuck off and kicking him out the window.
  • Heel Realization: Both of the adorable and utterly loyal Hitler Youths Jojo and Yorki have one by the end of the film.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Russians who defeat the Nazis near the end of the film briefly hold Jojo prisoner and have Klenzendorf executed are this.
  • Hey, Wait!: When it looks like Elsa's Dead Person Impersonation has succeeded, Captain Deertz shouts "Wait!" and the music turns suspenseful. However, he did not actually Spot the Thread, he just noticed Jojo's journal on the desk.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold:
    • Jojo tries to be the best Nazi he can be, but anytime he's faced with any opportunity to be cruel, he either fails to follow through or his sympathy gets the best of him.
    • Elsa comes off as very confrontational with Jojo, almost like a Big Sister Bully, but eventually warms up to him and becomes something of a Cool Big Sis to him.
    • Klenzendorf at first appears to just be a Jaded Washout, but he clearly cares deeply for Rosie and Jojo, and any time he needs to give token praise to Hitler/Nazism he barely hides his distaste. He eventually lies to save Elsa from the Gestapo and then lies again to save Jojo from the Soviets.
  • Hopeless War: Some of the more objective-minded characters such as Rosie and Klenzendorf recognize that Germany is headed toward inevitable defeat. As the town collapses under the Allied assault, Yorki is telling Jojo that the whole world is against Germany, and their only remaining friends are the Japanese "and they don't look very Aryan."
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: After the grenade incident, we get a series of POV Shots from Jojo's perspective including his ride in a gurney across a hospital floor with Imaginary Hitler giving him a Thumbs Up.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In spades. It's Nazis we're talking about, after all, in a satirical context. For instance, Fräulein Rahm teaches the Nazi Youths that Aryans are more advanced and civilized than any other race... right before she tells them they're going to burn some books, and the kids cheer on wildly.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: To prove to the Nazis that he's tough enough, Jojo is asked to snap the neck of a rabbit. He ultimately chooses to let the rabbit go, earning him the nickname "Jojo Rabbit," at which point one of the Nazis grabs the rabbit and snaps its neck anyways.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Jojo is smitten with Elsa and even claims to Yorki that she's his girlfriend, but she doesn't reciprocate his crush for obvious reasons. He also wants Nathan, her actual boyfriend, dead; in hopes that that'll make her like him back. Nathan's been dead all along. Elsa still doesn't requite his romantic love, of course, but loves him like a little brother.
  • Improvised Armor: After Elsa takes his Hitler Youth knife, Jojo goes back upstairs equipped with a kitchen knife, a pot lid shield, and a cooking pot helmet.
  • Infant Immortality: Zig-Zagged. All three of the main child characters (Jojo, Elsa, and Yorki) survive to the end of the film, which Yorki lampshades. Plenty of other kids, however, die during the attack on the town at the end.
    Jojo: Yorki! I thought you were dead.
    Yorki: No, it seems I can never die.
  • In the Style of...: As many reviews have noted, Taika Waititi seems to be invoking the hell out of Wes Anderson for the film.
  • It's for a Book: When Imaginary Hitler calls Jojo out for spending so much time with Elsa, the latter claims it's for his book. He does the same schtick at the swimming hall when Klenzendorf gets suspicious of him showing interest in the topic of jews.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: Unsafe weapon handling is played for laughs, such as Fräulein Rahm's tendency to carelessly point her gun at other people.
  • Karmic Nod:
    • Klenzendorf accepts being beaten up by Rosie as he was responsible for Jojo being wounded.
    • Jojo is slapped by Elsa for temporarily lying to her that the Nazis won the war so she wouldn't leave her hideout, and by extension, him. He admits that he deserved it.
  • Killed Offscreen: The exact circumstances of Rosie's execusion are not revealed. Jojo sees her out in town dropping off pamphlets that say "Free Germany" and the next time he sees her is when she's hanged in the square.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Despite their brief screen time, the arrival of the Gestapo at Jojo's house is the moment where the drama really ramps up. However, it still has some of comedy to it, and it isn't until the next scene when Jojo finds his mother has been executed by the Nazis for sedition that the First Law of Tragicomedies really kicks in.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Easy to miss, but one of the older Hitler Youth recruits who calls Jojo a coward for not killing the rabbit is briefly shown begging the Soviets for his life after the end of the battle, in stark contrast to the stoic Klenzendorf. It doesn't work.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: At the library, Adolf proposes using the books to build a trap that sends Elsa into a pit full of piranhas, lava, and bacon.
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: The grenade incident left Jojo with a bunch of not-so-bad scars and a temporary limp – just enough to not be a Child Soldier candidate. Every other member of Hitlerjugend ends up drafted.
  • Lighter and Softer: There is no Black Comedy in the novel. It's a sober look into Nazi ideology, exploring themes of obsession and toxic masculinity bolstered by nationalistic ideals.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: When Elsa is telling Jojo a made-up story about the origin of the Jews, she looks at pictures and decorations around the room to get inspiration for the details.
  • Menacing Hand Shot: Back at the house after seeing his mother hanged, Jojo approaches Elsa with his knife with the camera focused on the weapon in his hand.
  • Mexican Standoff: Referenced incorrectly by Jojo when he explains to Elsa that both of them are stuck with each other. (If Jojo reports Elsa to the authorities, she'll kill him and his mother (or so she says to scare him) and vice versa.) He calls their situation "a Mexican stalemate." She quickly corrects him by pointing out that their situation is just a stalemate.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: When Jojo eventually brings himself to reveal to Yorki that he helped to hide a Jew in his house, the latter doesn't raise a brow. Justified because priorities have shifted at that moment.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: The Jews are initially seen as this by Jojo. When he meets Elsa for the first time, the scene plays out like a horror film. And she is clearly toying with him.
  • Mood Whiplash: The film is made of this, constantly segueing between farce and horror/tragedy.
    • The story is a rather goofy farce right until Jojo stumbles upon his mother's hanged corpse in the town square. Suddenly everything becomes a lot more serious.
    • The swimming-pool scene becomes a lot less funny when you suddenly start noticing all the mutilated people in the background – presumably soldiers who were wounded in battle. And it's not the only scene by far that shows this.
    • The Gestapo scene bounces back and forth between an Overly Long Gag and genuine menace for the protagonists.
    • The dramatic and bloody battle sequence is spliced with Yorki's clumsiness and various comedic lines he delivers.
  • My Fist Forgives You: At the end of the movie, Jojo, who is afraid Elsa will leave him all alone now that the war is over, lies to her and says that the Germans won. Shortly afterwards he decides to let her leave anyway, saying he'll help her escape. Moments after they leave the house, they see American soldiers drive by waving a big American flag and cheering. Elsa turns around and slaps Jojo but seems to let it go after that.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Jojo fabricates a letter purportedly from Elsa's fiance that breaks up with her, which reduces her to tears (not because she believed it – Jojo does not do a good impression – but from its mean-spiritedness). Rather than take pleasure in his victory, he regrets his behavior and makes up a second letter that takes back some of the nastier things he wrote.
    • Jojo gets a double-whammy towards the end. First, the normally Affably Evil Hitler goes on a violent and unhinged rant after Jojo hides Elsa from the Gestapo, which causes Jojo to see Hitler for what he truly is. Secondly is the War Is Hell moment with the American-Russian invasion, where Jojo really takes in all the German child soldiers, including his friend Yorki, and sees the destruction they're taking in the face of inevitable defeat that the Nazis tried so fervently to deny, and which he fell for at first.
    • A quieter version happens with the Hitler Youth bullies who mock Jojo for not being old or capable enough to go to war. As they're leaving to go to the front, they mock Jojo one more time for being a chicken. Later, Jojo sees them returning from the front, shellshocked, maimed, and defeated, staring at Jojo with something like regret.
  • Neck Snap: The rabbit gets killed this way.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Though it's ultimately a relatively minor aspect of the movie, the trailers mostly feature the Hitler Youth camp scenes. For the parts that don't, they appear to have digitally toned down the scars on Jojo's face from when he blew himself up with a grenade.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Non-verbally, but Jojo's Character Development is on-show when Yorkie tells him about the Russian and Allied forces invading, claiming that Jews no longer matter because the Ruskies and Allies 'eat babies and have sex with dogs'. Jojo's expression makes it clear he recognises this as completely ridiculous bullshit, just like the anti-Jew propaganda he had previously bought into.
  • Only Sane Man: Rosie and Captain Klenzendorf are the only adults who seem to truly understand that the war has taken a turn against the Axis powers and it's only a matter of time before it's all over. Klenzendorf, towards the end, is just preparing for the inevitable assault on the town and is past the point of caring about any sort of ideology he might have held at one point.
  • Overly Long Gag: When the Gestapo arrives, each member gives a "Heil Hitler" to whomever they're talking to, one at a time, with each mention getting a "Heil Hitler" in response. This happens with four different people, though the final occurrence is decidedly not funny.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Jojo lets off an "Oh, shit", near the beginning of the movie when he throws a grenade at training camp which bounces off a tree and lands right next to his feet.
    • Rosie calls Jojo "Shitler" at one point.
    • "Fuck off, Hitler!"
  • Propaganda Machine: Jojo and his peers receive indoctrination in the Hitler Youth, and after his grenade accident, he's put to work distributing propaganda posters.
  • Protagonist Title: "Jojo Rabbit" is the main protagonist's nickname.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Captain Klenzendorf, his adjutant Finkel, Yorki and Jojo are this in terms for their service to the Reich.
  • Reality Ensues: Employing Child Soldiers in genuine warfare goes about as well as you'd expect. Instead of providing a capable defense, most of them prove to be completely incompetent with adult-sized machinery and firearms while the rest just cower in terror instead of trying to fight. Naturally, the Allies completely steamroll them.
  • Recurring Camera Shot: Most of the time Jojo's mother enters a scene, the first shot of her is a close up on her feet. In the very last scene she appears in, the camera shows a close up of Jojo standing up from being bent over and seeing her feet as she hangs from the town square gallows.
  • La Résistance: Jojo learns that both his parents are involved in German resistance against the Nazis, with his father actively fighting while his mother harbors a Jew and distributes anti-Nazi leaflets.
  • Rule of Funny:
    • In the end, Elsa and Jojo show off some anachronistic dance moves that weren't around in the 1940s, but it's funnier that way.
    • Waititi's whole performance as Hitler, where he just improvised everything about the character after deciding that a realistic Hitler would not be entertaining or appropriate for the film.
  • Running Gag:
    • Elsa taking away Jojo's knife each time he tries to confront her. Later, Rosie complains that all the kitchen knives are missing.
    • People (including Jojo himself) commenting on how hideously deformed Jojo is from getting blown up by a grenade, even though he really doesn't look too bad.
    • Adolf offering Jojo a cigarette, which he refuses because he's only ten.
  • Secret Police: Captain Deertz of the Gestapo shows up at Jojo's house, snooping around for any signs of treason.
  • Secret Room: Elsa is hidden in a room behind Inge's room.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: It's implied Captain Klenzendorf knew about Rosie's secret anti-Nazi work all along but he never told anyone else and only tells Jojo once the Allies take the town, right before his own death. She doesn't seem to have suspected him of knowing.
  • Sent Into Hiding: Elsa hides in Jojo and Rosie's house, due to being a Jew during the Holocaust.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: After a bomb goes off in the street during the climax, the sound temporarily drowns out.
  • Shout-Out:
    • After one of Hitler's chats with Jojo, he runs and jumps out of a window.
    • The dialogue of Elsa telling Jojo she's a Jew, plays out similarly to the iconic one between Edward and Bella, which is appropriate considering the monstrous qualities that the Nazi propaganda attributes to Jews.
    • Elsa's fiancé Nathan proposed to her with a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke. Jojo then goes to the library, borrows a poem collection of Rilke, and uses lines from the poems to incorporate them into his faked letters from Nathan to Elsa. The movie also ends with a quote by Rilke.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Hitler goes through a Villainous Breakdown, Jojo finally rejects him and kicks him out a window, shouting, "Fuck off, Hitler!"
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: When Klenzendorf is introduced, he snacks on an apple before deciding to give his attention to the kids at the camp.
  • Sound-Only Death: Klenzendorf dies this way.
  • Spanner in the Works: Klenzendorf almost borders on a Deus ex Machina with how timely and unexpected his appearances can get.
    • Klenzendorf interrupts the Gestapo search of Jojo's house. It's only because of Klenzendorf that Jojo and Elsa escape the Gestapo search unharmed; Klenzendorf makes sure he's the one to inspect Elsa/"Inge"s papers and lets her get away with the wrong birthdate.
    • When the Allies invade, Jojo is rounded up when he's got a uniform jacket on. Klenzendorf, also captured, specifically picks out Jojo from the group, offers an apology for laughing at the book and condolences about his mother's death, then rips off the jacket and suddenly starts calling him a "dirty Jew". The Russians are about to start executing the Nazis by firing squad, only to now believe Jojo is a wrongly-rounded up Jew and let him go at the last minute.
  • Table Space: When Jojo and his mother have a dispute at supper, their emotional distance is emphasized by sitting at opposite ends of the table.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Every Nazi seen in the trailers is depicted in the most ridiculous way possible, from a cowboy-wannabe to a youth-camp-leader who instructs her pupils to happily burn books around a giant bonfire. Eventually in the film the Nazis become decidedly less funny.
  • Time-Compression Montage: The time Jojo spends with Elsa during the winter of 1944/45 after his mother died is captured in a number of key shots set to the song "Everybody's Gotta Live" by Love.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Elsa is noticeably taller than Jojo, which makes sense because she's in her teens while he's only 10 years old.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: All of Hitler's advice tends to backfire badly for Jojo. In the end, Jojo realizes that Hitler is a megalomaniac and literally kicks him out of his life, sending him flying through his bedroom window.
  • Translation Convention: German speech is translated into English with a German accent, apart from a few minor words that go untranslated, like "heil" and "tschüss." All text, however, is untranslated German, which is rendered into English when read aloud. The American soldiers speak English with American accents, and Jojo protests that he can't understand them. Presumably, the Soviet soldier who removes Jojo from the firing squad area and tells him to go home is a translator speaking German to him.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Captain Klenzendorf is blind in one eye. He turns a blind eye to Elsa pretending to be Jojo's deceased sister Inge, despite knowing she accidentally said her birthday was May 1st when it was actually May 7th. He implies at the end that he was aware of the resistance work Rosie was doing.
    • Elsa has spent months living in a bolthole to escape Nazi persecution. When she looks into a mirror, she wipes her face and mutters, "What a dirty Jew." The "dirty Jew" rhetoric that sent her into hiding has made her literally dirty.
  • Wham Line: At the end, Elsa admits to Jojo that her fiance Nathan isn't actually alive: he died from tuberculosis over a year ago.
  • Wham Shot: Jojo chases a butterfly through the town square, keeping his head down, and when he stands up after it flies away, we see his mother's feet dangling next to him, having been hanged by the Gestapo for being a member of the resistance.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Rosie gives her son several small ones for his blind devotion to Hitler, though none seem to take. Elsa gives a silent, but violent, one when she realises Jojo had lied to her about Germany's victory due to his fear she'd leave, which he quickly acknowledges he deserved.

Let everything happen to you
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Jojo, kill the rabbit

At a Hitler Youth training camp, the older boys want to make sure everyone is ready to go to war. They single out 10-year-old Jojo and challenge him to kill a rabbit.

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4.67 (9 votes)

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Main / IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten

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