Jojo Rabbit 2.0 stars

Jojo Rabbit movie poster

There’s a deep and sincere sweetness in the work of writer-director Taika Waititi. It’s a kind of relentless and innocent good cheer that persists in the face of horror — to the point where the horror is obscured, or maybe defanged. That sweetness is in full effect in this story of a little German boy who makes an imaginary friend out of Der Führer to help him on his way to becoming a proper Hitler Youth, only to discover that his Mom has been keeping a secret while Dad’s away at war: his dead sister’s Jewish best friend is hiding upstairs. The result is reminiscent of Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautful, another film that used the horrors of the Holocaust as the backdrop for a little kid’s big adventure. It’s clear that in both cases, the intentions are entirely good; no one’s looking to exploit or ignore the nightmare atrocity, just to find glimmers of light and love amid the darkness and hate. And maybe find a way to laugh in spite of everything. Look at Hitler! Isn’t he silly, with his little mustache and his need for adoration and attention? After all, it’s not the kid’s fault the world around him has gone mad. He just wants, as his Jewish housemate notes, to belong to a club. And if the club leaders tell him that Jews are inhuman and that someone should write a book about their wicked ways, well, he’s just a clumsy, insecure kid. Some will find his gradual journey toward empathy and love an utterly charming fable, complete with deadpan Sam Rockwell as a nonplused Nazi. Some will find it a borderline apologia for haters, a softhearted attempt to find good people on both sides. And some will find it ping-ponging awkwardly between the two. There’s a reason the poster proclaims the film “an anti-hate satire” — it wants to make sure you don’t get the wrong idea from what’s on the screen. 2019.

Matthew Lickona

Showtimes

AMC La Jolla

8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego, 888-262-4386 | Directions

Friday, December 13

1:55pm, 4:30pm, 7:10pm, 9:45pm

Saturday, December 14

2:15pm, 4:50pm, 7:25pm

Sunday, December 15

1:55pm, 4:30pm, 7:10pm

Monday, December 16

2:45pm, 5:45pm, 8:45pm

Tuesday, December 17

1:55pm, 4:30pm, 7:10pm, 9:45pm

Wednesday, December 18

2:45pm, 5:45pm, 8:45pm

AMC Plaza Bonita

3050 Plaza Bonita Road, National City, 888-262-4386 | Directions

Friday, December 13

2:50pm

Saturday, December 14

2:50pm

Sunday, December 15

2:50pm

Monday, December 16

3:15pm

Tuesday, December 17

2:50pm

Wednesday, December 18

3:15pm

Landmark Hillcrest

3965 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 619-298-2904 | Directions

Friday, December 13

1:40pm, 4:45pm, 7:20pm, 9:50pm

Saturday, December 14

10:50am, 1:40pm, 4:45pm, 7:20pm, 9:50pm

Sunday, December 15

10:50am, 1:40pm, 4:45pm, 7:20pm, 9:50pm

Monday, December 16

4:45pm, 9:50pm

Tuesday, December 17

1:40pm, 4:45pm, 7:20pm, 9:50pm

Wednesday, December 18

1:40pm, 4:45pm, 7:20pm, 9:50pm

Thursday, December 19

1:40pm, 4:45pm, 7:20pm, 9:50pm

La Paloma

471 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 760-436-7469 | Directions

Friday, December 13

6:00pm

Saturday, December 14

12:00pm

Sunday, December 15

5:25pm

Monday, December 16

5:25pm

Tuesday, December 17

5:25pm

Wednesday, December 18

5:25pm

Regal Oceanside

401 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, 760-439-1327 | Directions

Friday, December 13

2:20pm, 5:05pm, 7:45pm, 10:25pm

Saturday, December 14

2:20pm, 5:05pm, 7:45pm, 10:25pm

Sunday, December 15

2:20pm, 5:05pm, 7:45pm, 10:25pm

Monday, December 16

3:35pm, 6:20pm, 10:35pm

Tuesday, December 17

3:35pm, 6:20pm, 10:35pm

Wednesday, December 18

3:35pm, 6:20pm, 10:35pm

Thursday, December 19

3:45pm, 6:30pm

Regal Parkway Plaza

405 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon, 619-401-3456 | Directions

Saturday, December 14

10:30am

Sunday, December 15

10:30am

Monday, December 16

11:00am

Tuesday, December 17

11:00am

Wednesday, December 18

11:00am

Regal San Marcos

1180 W. San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 760-471-3734 | Directions

Friday, December 13

4:30pm, 10:25pm

Saturday, December 14

4:30pm, 10:25pm

Sunday, December 15

4:30pm, 10:25pm

Monday, December 16

11:05am, 1:35pm, 4:05pm, 6:35pm, 9:05pm

Tuesday, December 17

11:05am, 1:35pm, 4:05pm, 6:35pm, 9:05pm

Wednesday, December 18

11:05am, 1:35pm, 4:05pm, 6:35pm, 9:05pm

Thursday, December 19

10:20am, 1:00pm, 3:40pm

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