Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Jojo Rabbit is the Academy Award winning World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, and his loyal classmate Yorki, Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

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‘Jojo Rabbit’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Jojo Rabbit (2019)In Jojo Rabbit, Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) is a young boy living in Nazi Germany during the last days of World War II. Jojo lives with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) and his father is supposedly serving on the Italian front. Jojo’s sister Inge recently died of influenza prior to the film beginning. Jojo also has an active imagination and often talks with his imaginary best friend, a cartoonish version of Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi).

Jojo has recently turned ten and joins the Hitler Youth as any young German boy would do. Jojo attends his first Hitler Youth training camp with his real best friend, Yorki (Archie Yates). The commanding officer of the camp is Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell), a one-eyed German soldier who has been assigned to the camp as a punishment.

Klenzendorf is assisted by Fräulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson) who oversees the little girls of the program. Jojo is issued a knife along with all the other boys. Jojo does not get along with many of the other kids in the camp, who perceive him as weak and a coward and call him Jojo Rabbit. After a pep talk from Adolf, Jojo grabs a grenade from Klenzendorf during a training exercise to prove his bravery. Jojo throws the grenade, but it bounces off a tree and back at Jojo. The grenade goes off and injures Jojo, who receives a scar on his face and injures his leg.

After Jojo recovers, Rosie coerces Klenzendorf into giving Jojo a task so that he feels included. Jojo is given small tasks by the captain such posting leaflets and collecting scrap metal for the war effort. One day while Jojo is home alone, he discovers Elsa Korr (Thomasin McKenzie) living in a hidden room in his mother’s bedroom. Elsa is a teenage Jewish girl and a former classmate of Jojo’s dead sister. Elsa takes control of Jojo and pins him against the wall. She takes his Hitler Youth knife, as well as some other knives that he brings to his later confrontations with Elsa. The hidden girl threatens to kill him if he tells his mother that he found her. Elsa also tells Jojo that if he tells the Germans about her than his mother would be killed for hiding her.

Despite Hitler’s protests about Elsa, Jojo lets Elsa live in the house and keeps her secret. However, he asks Elsa to reveal her Jewish secrets so that he can write a book about the Jews for Klenzendorf. Entertained, Elsa tells Jojo elaborate lies about the Jewish people including such things as mind-reading abilities and tails. Jojo never confronts his mother about Elsa, but he becomes frustrated with her for her perceived unpatriotic behavior. Rosie expresses her belief to her son that being positive and optimism are the best ways to be free of oppression. Secretly, Rosie spreads anti-Nazi leaflets around town.

One day, Jojo is home alone when the Gestapo, led by Captain Deertz (Stephen Merchant), visit his house for a routine inspection. Klenzendorf happens to arrive while the house is being searched. Captain Deertz notices that Jojo’s Hitler Knife is missing and become suspicious of Jojo’s answer that he lost it. Elsa arrives in the room and says that she is Inge, Jojo’s dead sister, and that she has his knife. She tells Deertz that she took his knife to protect herself from Jojo entering her room. Elsa provides Inge’s documents to Klenzendorf who questions her about the information contained on them, including birthdate. Klenzendorf verifies the information. Klenzendorf and the Gestapo leave satisfied, but Elsa reveals that she gave the wrong birthdate and Klenzendorf would have known it.

Later that day, Jojo finds his mother hung to death in the town square, recognizing her two-toned shoes. He hugs her dead body and breaks down crying. Jojo returns home and stabs Elsa in the shoulder with his knife before collapsing in his grief. Elsa comforts him as she bleeds from shoulder.

A few days later, Jojo runs into Yorki, who is now a full blown German soldier with a uniform. Yorki informs Jojo that the real Hitler committed suicide and that the Allies are nearing their village. As if on cue, the village is attacked causing Jojo and Yorki to duck for cover. They run into Rahm who is sending out Hitler Youth with grenades strapped to them and telling them to hug enemy soldiers. She puts a uniform onto Jojo before running into the battle with a machine gun.

The Allies defeat the Germans and Klenzendorf and the city garrison surrender. The Soviets place Jojo with some captured German soldiers, including Klenzendorf. The German captain tells Jojo that his mother was a good woman and to look after his sister. Klenzendorf then removes Jojo’s uniform and Hitler Youth coat and calls him a Jew, causing the Soviets to drag him to safety. Jojo hears gunshots as he runs away.

Jojo returns home and tells Elsa that Germany won the war to prevent her from leaving. Jojo confesses his love for Elsa, and she tells him she loves him like a younger brother. Imaginary Adolf returns and angrily confronts Jojo who kicks him out the window. Jojo takes Elsa outside and Elsa sees the American soldiers and realizes the Allies have won the war. She slaps Jojo in the face for lying before they dance in the street together.

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Fox Searchlight Pictures released Jojo Rabbit on November 8, 2019. Taika Waititi directed the film starring Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, and Scarlett Johansson.

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