101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far)

Springboarding from dramatic source material, Taika Waititi offers an irreverent take on World War II in Jojo Rabbit, audaciously presenting Hitler as a young boy’s idiotic imaginary friend. (Not since Mel Brooks has a satirist razzed the Führer so mercilessly.) Set in Germany circa 1945, Jojo Rabbit centers on ten-year-old Johannes “Jojo” Betzler, an enthusiastic Hitler Youth member who discovers his mother has provided sanctuary for a Jewish teenager. At first, Waititi unfurls his narrative like a whimsical fable, showing Jojo caught between nationalism and rebellion. Then tragedy sparks growth. Despite the inherent weight of its subject matter, Jojo Rabbit is so consistently funny and personal and strange that Waititi sidesteps most tropes associated with WWII stories—thereby affirming his belief that insouciance hits differently. Treating the subject earnestly “would be something we’ve seen 20 times before,” Waititi told Written By in 2019. “What’s the point in that?” Waititi won the 2020 Writers Guild Award for Adapted Screenplay for Jojo Rabbit.

READ: Taika Waititi parallels Nazi Germany in Jojo Rabbit.