What if notorious Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was your imaginary friend? That's the delirious premise of Jojo Rabbit, the surreal new comedy-drama from Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi.
In this loose adaptation of Christine Leunens' novel Caging Skies, Waititi pulls double duty, not just directing but playing Hitler himself. He's the voice inside the head of lonely young Jojo 'Rabbit' Betzler (Golden Globe nominee Roman Griffin Davis), a kid in the Hitler Youth.
Jojo's life is complicated when he discovers his kind mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is sheltering Jewish girl Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic – so will he give her up, or learn to become sympathetic towards the plight of the Jews?
Co-starring Sam Rockwell, Stephen Merchant and Rebel Wilson, there's no denying Jojo Rabbit has a unique premise. But what did Unlimited members make of it?
John Griffin says the movie has a powerful message.
Simply a wonderful film, love defeating hate a deeply divided community coming together, funny heart warming but bring a tissue it will be heart breaking too #CineworldUnlimited pic.twitter.com/Bk8BfD3V4c— John Griffin (@Johncgriffin31) December 16, 2019
Luke McCarthy-Reed agrees, identifying the film's desire for unity.
What a beautiful experience #JojoRabbit is. Very silly, very funny but very moving and a very important message of love and unity at a time we need that. Really lovely stuff. @cineworld #CineworldUnlimited— Luke McCarthy-Reed (@lukehmuse) December 16, 2019
Nemo says it's their film of the year.
Can’t remember the last time I was in a screening that laughed as much as tonight’s #CineworldUnlimited showing of #JoJoRabbit did, nor the last time I saw a film that could swing so deftly from absurdity to tragedy and back again.— Nemo (@nemo_fishy) December 16, 2019
Film of the year, far as I’m concerned. pic.twitter.com/BCgebz8ORH
SusanonSaturn says the movie successfully hits a range of emotions.
Jojo Rabbit was exactly the film I needed tonight. Funny, endearing, heart wrenching maybe even a little shocking at times. It was also nice to be in a screening where everyone seemed to be invested and enjoyed it. Brilliant film. #JojoRabbit #cineworldunlimited @cineworld— Susan (@SusanOnSaturn) December 16, 2019
Sam is another audience member who lauds Waititi's ability to swing us from laughs to tears.
#JojoRabbit is quite possibly the sweetest film of 2019. How Taika Waititi was able to have me in stitches of laughter, then 5 minutes later reduce me to a sobbing mess I’ll never know Definitely one of the best of 2019. Believe the Hype. @cineworld #CineworldUnlimited pic.twitter.com/3udpyMnJzQ— Sam (@samshawmedia) December 16, 2019
Lizzie says the movie belongs to one actor in particular.
Fantastic film! Brilliantly funny yet poignant - quite the emotional rollercoaster! Scarlett Johansson was absolutely incredible. #JojoRabbit— Lizzie (@LizzyB87) December 16, 2019
That said, the movie didn't work for everyone, perhaps unsurprising given its approach to the subject matter. Sam Crosby-Browne says the story could do with more focus, although he praises the performances of Davis and McKenzie.
Davis & McKenzie steal the show - shame Waititi (as Director) never seems to find focus compared to ‘Boy’ & ‘Wilderpeople’.— Sam Crosby-Browne (@crosbybrowne) December 16, 2019
A shocking & perfectly executed mid-point sets up an interesting 2nd half but the screenplay is overdosed in aged Nazi quips and grows tiresome, quickly.
We'll end with this from Joe Warne who describes the movie as essential viewing.
A true gem through and through. I laughed heartily, but I also shed many tears. It gets the balance of humour and tragedy exactly right. It's the film our society really needs right now. Having loved all of Taika Waititi's films, it not only met my expectations, it exceeded them!— Joe Warne (@warneinator) December 16, 2019
If you missed out, the good news is Jojo Rabbit arrives in Cineworld properly on the 1st of January 2020.
Ready for your final Cineworld Unlimited screening of 2019? Greta Gerwig adapts Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women, with Saoirse Ronan leading an all-star cast. The movie screens in advance on the 17th of December.