What a movie. WHAT a movie. Go and see this masterpiece. It builds up a little boys vision of the glorious hitler youth and documents it’s breakdown. Instead of portraying Hitler as bad from the get go- the film starts with a likeable Hitler. He’s funny. Yes, obviously we all hate the real Hitler, but the film bravely shows us how a boy could idealise him and then takes on the challenge of dismantling that for us. Very well done Mr. Taika Waititi.
The acting is phenomenal, Rebel Wilson doesn’t grate as I thought she would, and actually delivers some funny lines. (“What a great year to be a woman”) Sam Rockwell’s character takes a huge 360 and you can’t help but cry at the end when…. I’ll try not to ruin it. But then you shouldn’t really be reading this as the 7 story elements will 100% have spoilers in.
Please read on for my 7 story elements in 7 minutes. Comment if you believe them to be different! I’d love to see another perspective.
Little Jo Jo Rabbit. A little, German boy who lives with his mum.
He’s naive- of course, and soaks up everything he’s been told by Nazi Youth leaders. He doesn’t think for himself, and though his mother insists he is “in there somewhere”, the tough exterior created by the SS hardens him to the love of life.
The Hero’s Ally
Elsa, the Jewish girl in his attic. Yes, his mother acts as an ally too, but it is Elsa who is responsible for bringing him round to a love of freedom at the end. Hitler, his imaginary friend who stays with him throughout the movie on the face of it looks like the ally, but he acts more as a symbol of Jo Jo’s changing mood towards nazism.
Elsa. Like most dynamic stories, it is the ally of Jojo who forces him change. Elsa opposes all of the values JoJo has learnt and must eventually un learn.
The Enabling Circumstance
Nazi Germany and his enrolment into the Nazi youth. His lack of a father (due to – we think- his involvement in the resistance) gives him no physical father figure which could be seen as theoretically filled by Adolf Hitler/ Nazism.
The Life Changing Incident
The discovery of Elsa in the attic. JoJo is forced to look his beliefs in the face, and watch them get slowly overturned.
Jojo won’t hand in Elsa once he understands that his mother will be sentenced to death for helping Elsa if they find out Elsa exists. After his mother is hung for being part of the resistance, Elsa is all JoJo has, and so losing her matters more. The stakes also rise for Elsa- the SS are cracking down and getting more desperate the closer they come to losing the war.