(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Near the end of WWII a ten-year-old German boy who idolizes the German military finds he has to make some hard choices. While the film usually has high spirits, there are times when the viewer will not find the story a happy one. Directed and written by Taika Waititi. Rating: +3 (-4 to +4) or 8/10.

The time is very late World War II. The setting is a small town in Germany that luckily escaped any of the fighting. Jojo (played by Roman Griffin Davis) is ten years old and loves the war and the German warriors trying to celebrate the military. He has German propaganda posters all over his room. He has escaped the reality of his country's position. Jojo has an imaginary friend he talks to. The friend is Adolf Hitler. When Jojo has a problem he asks his friend Adolf.

Just now Jojo is particularly excited. He is joining the Deutsches Jungvolk. That is the branch of the Hitler Youth for younger boys, and something somewhere between the Boy Scouts and army war games. In the wood where they practice they look like a sea of brown shirts. They even get to use live weapons, which is a mistake for Jojo. He is too close to a hand grenade when it goes off. He breaks a leg and his face is disfigured for life. It is while he is on the mend that he starts hearing noises he cannot explain. His mother blames the noise on rats in the attic. Jojo happily goes around town defending German militarism and nationalism. And not surprisingly the topic comes to German anti-Semitism.

As strong as Jojo's relationship is with his mother (played by Scarlett Johansson), they disagree on the war. There is more to the story, but for that see the film. I rate it a +3 on the -4 to +4 scale, or 8/10.

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2019 Mark R. Leeper