Australian Council on Children and the Media

Jojo Rabbit

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Short takes

Not suitable under 15; parental guidance to 16 (violence, language, death, adult themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Jojo Rabbit
  • a review of Jojo Rabbit completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 30 December 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not suitable due to violence, language, strong themes of death and loss, and dark satirical humour – Children under this age may not appreciate the seriousness of Nazism due to the satirical nature of the film.
Children aged 15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, language, death and adult themes.
Children aged 16 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Jojo Rabbit
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes, violence and coarse language
Length 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Ten-year-old Hitler Youth-hopeful, Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), and his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (Taika Watiti), discover Jojo’s mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), is harbouring Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) during WWII. As Jojo struggles with his Nazi fanaticism and his mother’s ‘betrayal’ of Germany, he goes on a journey that opens his eyes to the truth of the war and the beliefs he has so ardently defended.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

War; Death; Love; Racism; Anti-Semitism.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • A Hitler Youth trainee throws a knife at a tree, it bounces back and hits another child in the thigh.
  • Hitler Youth trainees play war games that involve pretending to kill each other with rocks – comedic.
  • A child is asked to strangle a rabbit to death – He refuses, so an older boy kills the rabbit instead.
  • An older Hitler Youth member threatens to crush Jojo’s head with his boot.
  • Jojo accidentally sets off a grenade near himself and is rushed to hospital with severe injuries.
  • A man is kicked in the groin.
  • Dead bodies are seen hanging by their necks in the village centre.
  • Jojo stabs Elsa in the shoulder – She is ok, but blood is visible.
  • War sequences in which people (including children), are shot and killed.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Imaginary Hitler is seen eating a Unicorn head for dinner – This is comedic but a little bit graphic, so likely to disturb young children.
  • Captain Klenzendorf has a glass eye, which may disturb young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Imaginary Hitler is seen with a bloody bullet wound through his head.
  • Young children are forced to actively participate in the war as soldiers – This may distress some children.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Jojo’s mother is seen hanging dead by her neck – This greatly distresses Jojo and will likely distress children.
  • The Gestapo search Jojo’s house – This is highly tense and may distress children in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Reference to “tongue kissing”.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Drinking
  • Cigarettes – Imaginary Hitler offers Jojo cigarettes on numerous occasions.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Fuck
  • Shit
  • Tit
  • Hell
  • Damn.

In a nutshell

Jojo Rabbit is a satirical depiction of the journey a ten-year-old Hitler Youth trainee must go on, as he discovers the truth about Nazism and the Jewish people. Due to strong violence, language, and themes of war, death, loss, and anti-Semitism, Jojo Rabbit is not suitable for children under 15. However, with strong performances, great pacing, funny dialogue and sequences, and poignantly dramatic moments, this film is likely to appeal to older teens and adults.

The main messages from this movie are to treat others with respect and to help others even in the face of overwhelming abuse.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Courage and empathy
  • Not judging a book by its cover.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Anti-Semitism
  • Bullying
  • Body-shaming – Two jokes are made about a child being fat
  • The dangers of playing with knives, guns, and explosives
  • The seriousness of Nazism – The film displays it in a satirical manner and may not be clear to some children/teenagers the gravity of the crimes committed by this group.

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