Guy’s review published on Letterboxd:
LFF film #4
impossible not to be apprehensive of a concept like this but I trust Taika Waititi implicitly and absolutely think he stuck the landing.
the film's announcement had me expecting his Adolf Hitler as some omnipresent force on the narrative but really he is largely extraneous. he acts more as a tool to divorce the evil ideas forced on this child from him and reframe them through an understood lens of pure evil that ultimately makes the story about getting rid of him than any sense of understanding why he's there.
once you realise this and can distance yourself from the comedy it brings inherent to any Taika Waititi movie this movie is more than anything a tragedy. Rosie Betzler, played with an incredible warmth by Scarlett Johansson is an already grieving mother who sees her last living child giving in to destructive anger and hate in the name of belonging and the film goes to great lengths to make it explicit that those ideas are unjustifiable while also maintaining a perspective of humanity from this character who wants to believe the best of her son. this tension coupled with Jojo's own story of confronting his biases head on creates a narrative not about forgiveness or understanding but admitting that you've fucked up and can only work to make the future better for the people around you.
not the justification of fascism that his detractors expected and honestly not the radical deconstruction I hoped for either, Jojo Rabbit is a film about making sense of the world around you, however cruel or angry it may be because the good people who live there are worth it.
a far cry from Taika Waititi's earlier films more focused on making sense of people in a world that doesn't care but a move that feels motivated by maturity more than submission to that world. not all people are good and not all people make sense but being good will always make sense.