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20 Movies To Watch If You Loved Jojo Rabbit

When director Taika Waititi isn’t busy making Thor the funniest character in the MCU, he takes the time to stay true to his quirky indie roots, releasing movies like Jojo Rabbit. It’s about a young Nazi boy with an imaginary Hitler friend, whose mother is hiding a Jewish teenaged girl in their home. It’s also up for Best Picture in this year’s Oscars race.

It’s a high-wire act mining jokes out of World War II, and when the film came out there were immediate and mostly favorable comparisons to Jojo‘s forebears like Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, To Be or Not to Be, Life Is Beautiful, and the original The Producers. And speaking of Mel Brooks, he lends his wisdom for documentary The Last Laugh, which explores the boundaries of humor in the face of human horror and catastrophe. Meanwhile, Train of Life is just as funny as any of the movies mentioned so far, and remains criminally underseen.

Using a child’s perspective to explore the origins and horrors of World War II is an evocative yet risky technique. If successful, it creates empathy in the viewer. When it fails, critics and audiences will deem it exploitative. Come and See is arguably the most memorable of this type of film, but be warned it is not a comedy and will mess you up. It’s also a masterpiece. Forbidden Games and Au Revoir Les Enfants are gentler classics, and just about as affecting and powerful. If you’re not a blubbering mess by the end of those and want even more World War II movies from kids’ point of views, try The Tin Drum, The Diary of Anne Frank, or The Boy In the Striped Pajamas.

Beyond World War II, there have been a lot of great films as seen through the eyes of youth that unearth truths for people across all ages. Peter Brook’s adaptation of The Lord of the Flies explores how authoritarian tendencies develop organically when left unchecked. Pan’s Labyrinth uses fantasy to help a young girl engage with and escape the darkness of reality. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Florida Project all use the power of imagination to create better worlds for their young heroes.

And if you’re just looking for a rousing adventure of young lovers on the run (and also in scouting uniforms), see Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson. Waititi shares the same comedic sensibility and timing as Anderson, as seen in Jojo Rabbit and his earlier efforts, Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Alex Vo

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 70289%
Critics Consensus: A touching and haunting family film that deals with the Holocaust in an arresting and unusual manner, and packs a brutal final punch of a twist.
Synopsis: During World War II, 8-year-old Bruno (Asa Butterfield) and his family leave Berlin to take up residence near the concentration... [More]
Directed By: Mark Herman

#19

Train of Life (1998)
64%93%

#19
Adjusted Score: 64208%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After hearing accounts of Nazis herding Jews onto trains, an isolated shtetl deports itself, by rail, to safety.... [More]
Directed By: Radu Mihaileanu

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 83628%
Critics Consensus: Some may find its dark tone and slender narrative off-putting, but Spike Jonze's heartfelt adaptation of the classic children's book is as beautiful as it is uncompromising.
Synopsis: Feeling misunderstood at home and at school, mischievous Max (Max Records) escapes to the land of the Wild Things, majestic... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 80951%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Nazi-occupied Holland in World War II, shopkeeper Kraler hides two Jewish families in his attic. Young Anne Frank (Millie... [More]
Directed By: George Stevens

#16

Life Is Beautiful (1997)
81%96%

#16
Adjusted Score: 84994%
Critics Consensus: Benigni's earnest charm, when not overstepping its bounds into the unnecessarily treacly, offers the possibility of hope in the face of unflinching horror.
Synopsis: A gentle Jewish-Italian waiter, Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni), meets Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), a pretty schoolteacher, and wins her over with... [More]
Directed By: Roberto Benigni

#15

The Tin Drum (1979)
84%84%

#15
Adjusted Score: 84066%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Oskar Matzerath (David Bennent) is a very unusual boy. Refusing to leave the womb until promised a tin drum by... [More]
Directed By: Volker Schlöndorff

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 93872%
Critics Consensus: Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastical, emotionally powerful journey and a strong case of filmmaking that values imagination over money.
Synopsis: Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), in a remote Delta community. Wink is a stern... [More]
Directed By: Benh Zeitlin

#13

Boy (2010)
88%86%

#13
Adjusted Score: 89933%
Critics Consensus: Boy possesses the offbeat charm associated with New Zealand film but is also fully capable of drawing the viewer in emotionally.
Synopsis: A New Zealand youth (James Rolleston) finds that his father (Taika Waititi) is a far cry from the heroic adventurer... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#12

The Producers (1968)
91%85%

#12
Adjusted Score: 97967%
Critics Consensus: A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.
Synopsis: Down and out producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), who was once the toast of Broadway, trades sexual favors with old... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#11

Lord of the Flies (1963)
91%63%

#11
Adjusted Score: 71920%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Amidst a nuclear war, a plane carrying a group of schoolboys crash lands on a deserted island. With no adult... [More]
Directed By: Peter Brook

#10

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
93%86%

#10
Adjusted Score: 103311%
Critics Consensus: Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best.
Synopsis: The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#9

The Great Dictator (1940)
92%95%

#9
Adjusted Score: 96452%
Critics Consensus: Charlie Chaplin demonstrates that his comedic voice is undiminished by dialogue in this rousing satire of tyranny, which may be more distinguished by its uplifting humanism than its gags.
Synopsis: After dedicated service in the Great War, a Jewish barber (Charles Chaplin) spends years in an army hospital recovering from... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#8

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%91%

#8
Adjusted Score: 104988%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#7

Come and See (1985)
97%95%

#7
Adjusted Score: 98971%
Critics Consensus: As effectively anti-war as movies can be, Come and See is a harrowing odyssey through the worst that humanity is capable of, directed with bravura intensity by Elem Klimov.
Synopsis: The invasion of a village in Byelorussia by German forces sends young Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko) into the forest to join... [More]
Directed By: Elem Klimov

#6

The Florida Project (2017)
96%80%

#6
Adjusted Score: 118158%
Critics Consensus: The Florida Project offers a colorfully empathetic look at an underrepresented part of the population that proves absorbing even as it raises sobering questions about modern America.
Synopsis: Set in the shadow of the most magical place on Earth, 6-year-old Moonee and her two best friends forge their... [More]
Directed By: Sean Baker

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 108648%
Critics Consensus: The charmingly offbeat Hunt for the Wilderpeople unites a solid cast, a talented filmmaker, and a poignant, funny, deeply affecting message.
Synopsis: A boy (Julian Dennison) and his foster father (Sam Neill) become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 98824%
Critics Consensus: Louis Malle's autobiographical tale of a childhood spent in a WWII boarding school is a beautifully realized portrait of friendship and youth.
Synopsis: In 1943, Julien (Gaspard Manesse) is a student at a French boarding school. When three new students arrive, including Jean... [More]
Directed By: Louis Malle

#3

To Be or Not to Be (1942)
96%93%

#3
Adjusted Score: 101216%
Critics Consensus: A complex and timely satire with as much darkness as slapstick, Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not To Be delicately balances humor and ethics.
Synopsis: Acting couple Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) are managing a theatrical troupe when the Nazis invade Poland.... [More]
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch

#2

The Last Laugh (2016)
98%75%

#2
Adjusted Score: 100329%
Critics Consensus: The Last Laugh takes a fresh -- and unexpectedly funny -- approach to sensitive subject matter, uncovering affecting insights about the nature of comedy along the way.
Synopsis: Comics, actors, filmmakers and concentration camp survivors discuss the ramifications and ethical dilemmas of using the Holocaust as a topic... [More]
Directed By: Ferne Pearlstein

#1

Forbidden Games (1952)
100%92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101421%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Orphaned after a Nazi air raid, Paulette (Brigitte Fossey), a young Parisian girl, runs into Michel (Georges Poujouly), an older... [More]
Directed By: René Clément

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