Blake Ison’s review published on Letterboxd:
Jojo Rabbit was a film that I was extremely excited for leading up to it and it did not disappoint.
Jojo Rabbit is everything I love about film. It's a film that really shouldn't have worked, but it miraculously did; and that is all thanks to the genius of Taika Waititi. This film had me hooked from the second it opened. Within it's opening minutes I was, not only in stitches, but completely invested in the story it was prepping to tell. This film is a beautiful blend of comedy & drama, having some of the most hilarious scenes I've seen all year, while also having some of the most emotional scenes I've seen all year.
Taika Waititi's direction here is absolutely superb and he is easily at the top of his game. He takes this terrible time in history and shows the light of the situation. Now, obviously this is a risky move just by how sensitive the subject matter is, but Waititi tells this story in an incredibly heartfelt way; and it worked for me in every way. A lot of the film relies on the lead performance of Jojo, played by Roman Griffin Davis, and I've got to say; this is one hell of a debut performance. This kid was an absolute delight to watch on screen. His performance in this film had me laughing one minute and on the verge of tears the next. This was some seriously great stuff and I can't wait to see what he does going forward.
I should also mention that Taika Waititi's portrayal of Hitler is one of the most outrageous things I have ever seen and I was all there for it. Oh! Sam Rockwell is also amazing!
Now, as I said earlier, the film blends its comedic moments with its dramatic moments in a way that felt incredibly authentic. Every moment had me feeling like 'I should be laughing here' or 'I should be crying here' and it never felt confused in that regard; which is a testament to the amazing writing & direction from Taika Waititi. The film is filled with some absolute comedy gold, while also having one of the most emotional scenes I have seen all year. I really couldn't believe how invested I was in this story. Like I said, "a film that really shouldn't have worked, but it miraculously did"!
The film is also filled with some beautiful messages that, after sitting on it for a while, have really got to me! It really is an anti-hate film & that makes me so happy.
Look, I really I don't have much else to say about this movie. I laughed, I cried (I didn't, but I wanted to) and I had an absolute blast. All the performances were top notch & it packed much more of an emotional punch than I was expecting. I loved every moment of this film and I cannot wait to see it again!