iklelele’s review published on Letterboxd:
Scavenger Hunt - 58 - January 2020 | Film 1/31 | Task 24: Watch a movie where an actor was born in or after the year 2000 and plays a prominent role.
Heil me, man.
What? You can heil me better than that.
Taika's fairytale of Nazi Germany casts a spell on the depravations of Hitler's régime, converting them into the utmost burlesque form of ridicule.
Discharged from any indulgence, Jojo Rabbit starts off as an exagerrated - whimsical to the core - spectacle that adapts the perspective of Roman Griffin Davis' innocent and particularly ignorant Jojo. Akin to his peers, Jojo's mind is a clean slate - or an empty computer program. The input it's fed with will most likely prevail if no alterations occur. Hence the Hitler-idolizing, Nazi youngster enters and remains in a bubble filled to the brim with lies and deceit. Around him, he sees a magical, jew-hating world that accommodates quirk and wonder. We are fortunately lucky enough to be more knowledgable.
Precisely this privilege of ours, is what makes Jojo Rabbit a heartwarming piece as we witness a character's turn to the better - we obviously know of - instilled with motherly love and a belief-challenging encounter with a predetermined nemesis.
Heil me. Just a little heil, please.
Simultaneously, Taika crafts a tale addressing the difficulties of raising a child under such adverse circumstances. Johansson's role embodies the haunting nightmare of all parents; Having your child face the inevitable evil.
Though leaving a grave mark, at times this necessity will realize the change to the positive. But anyone could use a little push; in this case, Thomasin McKenzie's steadfast persona as Elsa clashes with Jojo's insecurity and world view. Gradually, she is leading his increasingly wavering axioms to a contradiction.
What I respect within Taika's narrative is the translation of Jojo's crumbling bubble into the tonality. Not entirely deprived of comedic insertion, the film nonetheless becomes dimmer as it progresses. Meanwhile, Jojo slowly emerges out of his rabbit hole and - as a 10 year old - must watch it burn.
The blend between severity and lightness of the story is managed quite remarkably; Taika uses the initialized levity to add gravitas to ensuing incidents and therefore crafts a piece that is as versatile as this overly odd mixture can be. Alas, the director's goodwill shines through the ending a little bit too much when less prominent characters - looking at you Sam Rockwell - succumb to it, rather than to the changing heart of the story.
( 2019 | First Time: 2020 )