Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit

Watched & Ranked: November 2019
2019 Film Ranking

Based on the trailer and word from a couple of friends, I expected an uproarious oddball comedy with a message buried under all the silliness. Now that I've seen it, I have a hard time even calling this a comedy. I mean, of course it's a comedy. The first act is pretty much all gags and character stuff, but the final act of this film is as harrowing and heartbreaking as just about any World War II drama out there. Which is why I would dare to say this is only superficially a comedy but a war drama in all the ways that matter. Going in with wrong expectations caused me to struggle greatly with the tonal shifts of the film. Granted, even being well-prepared for them doesn't change the fact that the movie turns from satirical send-up to serious business on a dime. But I finally found my groove in the tonal tides at about the half-way mark, and that's when I realized this is a really special movie.

My biggest issue in the movie is with the character of Jojo himself. Without spoiling anything, I just had a hard time believing that such a young boy could be so radicalized considering his upbringing. It's something that could be pretty easily explained with just a bit of backstory, but once you know more about his parents, it begs the question of how he got to be this way in the first place.

All in all, JOJO RABBIT is an excellent and funny (and tense and sad and scary) examination of how nothing more than a sense of belonging can make otherwise good-hearted people go along with monstrous ideas. And how a simple interaction with those whom you claim to hate can tear those walls down. This is a movie we need right now, and I'm afraid the people that need to listen won't.

MVP Yorki

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