Review: In Jojo Rabbit comedy is a gateway to the heart

Comedy and tragedy are the touchstones of many great works of art, and both of those things can be found in Taika Waititi's latest movie Jojo Rabbit.

Using comedy as a gateway to the heart is Waititi's speciality, but never has he used it as potently as he does with his Jojo Rabbit.

The film is set in the final stages of World War II. Ten-year-old Jojo lives with his mum in a small village in Germany. All the young boy wants is to be a soldier and to fight for his Fuhrer. In fact, he's so in love with Adolf Hitler that the leader comes to life as his imaginary friend. 

But what Jojo doesn't know is that there is a Jewish girl hiding in a cubby hole upstairs. 

Playing Hitler and Nazi Germany for maximum laughs is always a complicated affair. 

Laughing at bullies and Nazi dictators to belittle their perceived strength and supremacy, this is such a rich storytelling vein to tap. 

And by crikey does Taika tap that vein.

It's bold, it's ballsy and it's a beautiful thing. 

The gut punch in this story comes from nowhere - and I quite simply never recovered.

Taika walks the tightrope of tone like an Olympian, crafting an almost perfect anti-hate satire which ripped out my heart entirely before he put it all back together again. 

For us Kiwis, Jojo will have even more power - this kind of humour is in our blood. 

We use it to soften the blow and to ease the pain. But ultimately what it does here is open our hearts and our minds.

If there was a time for a story which does nothing but spread love and not hate then that time is right now. 

Five stars.