Daniel Cruse’s review published on Letterboxd:
I finally caught this one on the last day that it would be available at my preferred theater. Honestly after I didn’t rush out to see it as soon as I could, my expectations for this movie weren’t as high seeing some of the mixed critical reactions but I wanted to see it before it left and I had nothing to do after work. But fortunately I’m very happy to say that I loved this film a lot more than I was expecting to.
No it’s not perfect, the story felt a little rushed at times and I felt that the tonal whiplash occurring in the transition from comedic scenes to more sobering, upsetting moments sometimes made for a strange experience. However it was admittedly very effective so maybe that was intentional. But anyway, it’s not a perfect film but it’s really fun and sweet and it just warmed my heart. It managed to take such a heavy handed premise and present it in a completely unique way that required a lot of effort and tact in order to not come off as callous or exploitative.
There are some really effective sequences that tastefully address the true horrors of Nazi Germany but for the most part, the movie focuses simply on one boy who discovers something that slowly makes him question everything he’s believed in for so long. The performance from Roman Griffin Davis is really strong, along with the rest of the cast including Scarlett Johansson who is so endearing and lovable as Jojo’s mother, Taika Waititi who is hilarious as imaginary Hitler, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Alfie Allen. But Thomasin McKenzie really stood out to me, giving a really charming, funny, and nuanced performance as Elsa.
The film is cleverly written, strongly directed, and the visual style was really pleasing to look at. Some shots feel very inspired by the work of Wes Anderson and I was all there for that cause it’s a style that appeals to me greatly. Taika really pulled out all the stops here making a film that features strong technical components, unique storytelling, wonderful acting, and a great message. Jojo Rabbit has a lot to say about hate but even more to say about love and it will leave you will a smile on your face once the credits roll.