|“||Let me give you some really good advice. Be the rabbit. The humble bunny can outwit all of his enemies. He’s brave, and sneaky, and strong. Be the rabbit.||„|
|~ Adolf comforting Jojo.|
|“||We're gonna stay in here and you're gonna tell me exactly what's going on with you and that thing in the attic. You're in love with her, aren't you? Admit it!||„|
|~ Adolf angry at Jojo for befriending Elsa.|
Adolf Hitler is the main antagonist of the 2019 satirical comedy film Jojo Rabbit.
The imaginary friend of jingoistic Hitlerjugend newcomer Johannes "Jojo" Betzler, Hitler is a goofy caricature of the Nazi dictator and a projection of Jojo's nationalistic views. He gradually comes to blows with Jojo after the latter learns that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa in the Betzler home, facing ultimate rejection when Jojo sides with Elsa and the Allies recapture Jojo's town.
He was portrayed by Taika Waititi, who also directed, produced, and wrote the film. The actor also portrayed Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok, and Viago Heimburg in What We do in the Shadows, and IG-11 in The Mandalorian.
As a fanatic of Nazi Germany and proud admirer of the Fuhrer, Jojo Betzler's lifelong dream is to join the German army and personally meet and become best friends with Adolf Hitler. Despite this nationalist fervor, Jojo doesn't find many friends in the Hitlerjugend and instead creates one of his own: his imaginary best friend Adolf Hitler.
When Jojo heads off to his first training camp, the imaginary Adolf offers words of encouragement, stating that Jojo will become the best and most loyal Nazi in his army someday. When Jojo refuses to kill a rabbit and is bullied as a result, Adolf later returns, telling Jojo that he believes that instead of killing the rabbit, Jojo should "be the rabbit", as rabbits are fast and strong survivors. In a cruel twist of irony, Adolf's words motivate Jojo to steal a German Stielhandgranate, which leads to an explosion that severely injures Jojo and lands him in the hospital.
Injured and stuck at home, Jojo meets Elsa, a teenage Jewish girl whom his mother has been hiding in his house. Adolf is horrified by this appearance and tries to formulate a plan to get rid of her, suggesting that Jojo interrogate her for information about Jews to report to a local captain. As a result of Elsa's presence, Adolf even begins to question the integrity of Jojo's mother, Rosie, growing suspicious of her anti-Nazi sentiments and suggesting that Jojo turn her and the Jewish girl in to the Gestapo. As Jojo slowly befriends Elsa, Adolf becomes unhinged, berating Jojo for being weak and unpatriotic before spitting in his soup. But as Jojo becomes more and more aware of the atrocities of Nazi Germany, he detaches himself from his blind patriotism, and as a result the imaginary Adolf appears less and less as the film continues.
At the very end of the war, when Jojo learns that Hitler has killed himself in his bunker, a disheveled Adolf appears to the boy one last time in a vain attempt to stop him from letting Elsa leave the house. He states that he knew Jojo was "in love with her", and orders Jojo to put on a Nazi swastika armband and "Heil me for old times sake". However, Jojo rejects both Adolf and his Nazi indoctrination before kicking his former imaginary friend out the window.
Early on in the film, while Jojo is still a fanatic of Nazi Germany, Adolf is presented as friendly, buffoonish, and even endearing, essentially the complete opposite of his real-life counterpart. In the very first scene, Adolf reassures Jojo that he's ready to spend an entire weekend at his training camp, and when Jojo is bullied by the other kids he offers surprisingly kind words of advice. When Jojo is injured, Adolf stands by his bed in the emergency room, and they go swimming together as Jojo recovers, which shows signs of what could be a caring and genuine friendship.
However, when Jojo meets Elsa, Adolf's personality begins to shift dramatically, slowly becoming less buffoonish and more loud, menacing and unhinged, going on angry rants about the Jewish race and Jojo's duty to his fascist regime. He becomes more suspicious, spying on Jojo's mother as she speaks to her son. He even reveals a more gluttonous and unsympathetic side of himself, eating a roast unicorn at the dinner table to mock Jojo as he struggles to find food in the trash. As Jojo learns the truth about the Nazi regime, this in turn reveals the true Adolf: a dangerous narcissist who only seeks to manipulate Jojo for his own gains.
At the end of the film, after the real Hitler has killed himself, Adolf is a disheveled, angry, and defeated mess, but is still determined to re-indoctrinate Jojo. But in his final moments, Adolf reveals himself to be more weak and pathetic than ever before, as Jojo ignores his meager pleas, since from the beginning he was nothing more than a figment of Jojo's imagination.
- Logically, Hitler would not have damaged the window upon his defeat, due to his nature as a thought-form, which is non-physical.
- Taika Waititi did no research on Hitler for the film. This depiction of Hitler had noticeable differences from his real-life counterpart.
- For instance, in the film, he offers Jojo cigarettes occasionally and is seen eating unicorn meat while Hitler in real life was a nonsmoker and vegetarian.
- In an interview, Waititi explains that he did no research because he didn't want to dignify Hitler with an historically accurate portrayal.
- At the end of the film, the disheveled Adolf appears with a bullet wound in his head as a nod to Hitler's suicide by gunshot in his bunker.
- Despite the critical acclaim Jojo Rabbit received, Taika Waititi's portrayal of Adolf Hitler divided critics, but otherwise received acclaim for his direction and writing as well, which led Waititi to win the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.