This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Cole Duffy’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Well. I had to rip off the band-aid and watch this at some point. Your tolerance of Waititi’s latest venture may depend on your feelings about Life is Beautiful; as someone who detests that film, it was difficult for JoJo Rabbit to win me over from the start. There are moments when it comes close: Scarlett Johansson and Thomasin McKenzie give deeply heartfelt performances, and some of the darker scenes land well. However, it ultimately becomes a toothless and weak-willed satire with a muddled conclusion and inconsistent messages.
A truly great satire takes a deep dive into the heart of what it’s satirizing. JoJo Rabbit is all surface level, nothing more than “haha silly young boys want to be Nazis” or “haha look at the homosexual Nazi with eye shadow!” The second concept in particular frustrated this viewer: first, because Waititi doesn’t even acknowledge in any way what actually happened to gay people in the Holocaust - in a sense, they are the forgotten victims. Secondly, they are the only sympathetic Nazis in the film, and using queerness to make them sympathetic is not funny or brilliant; it’s lazy writing and frankly put, a little insulting. JoJo Rabbit is lacking in any real insight about the hatred that drives Nazism and its ideology, and for that it fails as a satire.