Almost Great: Jojo Rabbit Review

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When watching a movie it is rare that I find myself struggling to formulate an opinion on it. A movie that really does not have anything necessarily wrong with it, yet there is just nothing about it that strikes me as unique, nothing about it that inspires reaction out of me. It is not a bad movie, and to say that it was a waste of time to watch would be a lie, however, it is one of those movies where your first reaction after leaving the theatre would be to shrug. “Jojo Rabbit”, directed by Taika Waititi, is a movie that you should definitely not be mad about watching, it has a ton of heart and is at times really funny, but it is also not a movie that you will remember for an extended amount of time.

The way that “Jojo Rabbit” tackles the racism prevalent throughout Nazi Germany is however quite impressive, to say the least; it manages to be offensive in the best way possible. The movie highlights the obscurity of racism, while also not getting super preachy about it. It’s clear that Waititi feels strongly about what he is producing and the movie is so much more powerful because of it. 

Technically this movie is classified as a comedy, but to call “Jojo Rabbit” a comedy and just leave it there would be a horrendous misinterpretation. Sure the movie is funny at times, but it is also chock-full of heart-wrenching moments that can leave the audience really depressed. This is a boy who from a young age has been indoctrinated by his country, a boy that feels pride in the racist ideals that the state holds; it shows him struggling with what he thinks is right, but feels is wrong. What is really impressive is the fact that this movie could seamlessly transition between hilarity and sadness and still feel coherent. So many movies suffer from tone problems; sadness can feel out of place among an audience who expected to leave the theatre laughing. This movie, however, handles the change in tone well, viewers never feel like they could be watching two separate films and never feel like the sadness is not warranted. 

Waititi’s performance as an imaginary Adolf Hitler was also absolutely brilliant. You could tell that he was really into the role and his energy resonated throughout the entire theatre during my viewing. He was truly the life of the film and every scene that featured him was an absolute joy to watch. He was the perfect interpretation of how a brainwashed child would view their dear leader. He was overflowing with childlike innocence and at times he was almost wholesome, besides his rampant anti-Semitism. My only complaint is that there were so few scenes with him actually in it. The movie’s advertising heavily featured Hitler but in reality, he was never a main focus. This is one of the things that kept this movie from being great; Hitler and Jojo had amazing chemistry and to not see it be the main focus of the movie was a real shame. 

The movie is mostly focused on the main protagonist of Jojo. This was not necessarily a bad idea, as Gilby Davis did a decent enough job with the character, but something about it just felt off. Jojo’s story was surprisingly meaningful, but more because of the excellent writing, rather than the performance. Not to say that Davis’s performance was horrible, just that there was just nothing about it that felt special to me. If the movie would have played around more with the Jojo and Hitler dynamic, I believe that the outcome would have been much more enjoyable. 

“Jojo Rabbit” is a truly mediocre film. It does have an amazing message and a good amount of heart thrown into it, but that is not enough to save it from mediocracy. If the movie had played to its strengths more instead of trying shift focus all towards Jojo, it would have been an amazing movie. However, as it stands now, this is definitely a movie that I would much rather rent than spend time and money at the theatre for.

When watching a movie it is rare that I find myself struggling to formulate an opinion on it. A movie that really does not have anything necessarily wrong with it, yet there is just nothing about it that strikes me as unique, nothing about it that inspires reaction out of me. It is not a bad movie, and to say that it was a waste of time to watch would be a lie, however, it is one of those movies where your first reaction after leaving the theatre would be to shrug. “Jojo Rabbit”, directed by Taika Waititi is a movie that you should definitely not be mad about watching, it has a ton of heart and is at times really funny, but it is also not a movie that you will remember for an extended amount of time.

The way that “Jojo Rabbit” tackles the racism prevalent throughout Nazi Germany is however quite impressive, to say the least; it manages to be offensive in the best way possible. The movie highlights the obscurity of racism, while also not getting super preachy about it. It’s clear that Waititi feels strongly about what he is producing and the movie is so much more powerful because of it. 

Technically this movie is classified as a comedy, but to call “Jojo Rabbit” a comedy and just leave it there would be a horrendous misinterpretation. Sure the movie is funny at times, but it is also chock-full of heart-wrenching moments that can leave the audience really depressed. This is a boy who from a young age has been indoctrinated by his country, a boy that feels pride in the racist ideals that the state holds; it shows him struggling with what he thinks is right, but feels is wrong. What is really impressive is the fact that this movie could seamlessly transition between hilarity and sadness and still feel coherent. So many movies suffer from tone problems; sadness can feel out of place among an audience who expected to leave the theatre laughing. This movie, however, handles the change in tone well, viewers never feel like they could be watching two separate films and never feel like the sadness is not warranted. 

Waititi’s performance as an imaginary Adolf Hitler was also absolutely brilliant. You could tell that he was really into the role and his energy resonated throughout the entire theatre during my viewing. He was truly the life of the film and every scene that featured him was an absolute joy to watch. He was the perfect interpretation of how a brainwashed child would view their dear leader. He was overflowing with childlike innocence and at times he was almost wholesome, besides his rampant anti-Semitism. My only complaint is that there were so few scenes with him actually in it. The movie’s advertising heavily featured Hitler but in reality, he was never a main focus. This is one of the things that kept this movie from being great; Hitler and Jojo had amazing chemistry and to not see it be the main focus of the movie was a real shame. 

The movie is mostly focused on the main protagonist of Jojo. This was not necessarily a bad idea, as Gilby Davis did a decent enough job with the character, but something about it just felt off. Jojo’s story was surprisingly meaningful, but more because of the excellent writing, rather than the performance. Not to say that Davis’s performance was horrible, just that there was just nothing about it that felt special to me. If the movie would have played around more with the Jojo and Hitler dynamic, I believe that the outcome would have been much more enjoyable. 

“Jojo Rabbit” is a truly mediocre film. It does have an amazing message and a good amount of heart thrown into it, but that is not enough to save it from mediocracy. If the movie had played to its strengths more instead of trying shift focus all towards Jojo, it would have been an amazing movie. However, as it stands now, this is definitely a movie that I would much rather rent than spend time and money at the theatre for.


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