The aspirations of a blindly nationalistic young German boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) to become the best little Nazi in his Hitler youth group hit a major snag when he discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin Mackenzie) in their attic. Curbing for the moment his anti-Semitic indoctrination and the shrill advice of his absurd imaginary friend, Adolph Hitler (played by director Taika Waititi), he doesn’t turn her in, and indeed a nascent friendship blossoms.
Your appreciation of this purposefully unsubtle high-wire balancing act of a film (comedy, kindness, evil) will depend on whether you think it’s too soon for a Holocaust-themed comedy. And while there’s value in educating new generations about humanity’s past mistakes, some would say it will always be too soon.
I found this well made and acted faux satire to be going through a lot of gyrations to make a highly obvious point (hate is bad). And the kid, while talented, soon becomes cloying. While Taititi’s ambition and his willingness to try something new and over-the-top is something to be applauded, I simply was not extremely entertained.
January 17 (108 min)