Nick White’s review published on Letterboxd:
Count me in the category of loving it for this supposedly "love it or hate it" movie. I think though that, at least based on the reviews I've read, that those hating it usually just expect something entirely different out of it, and I don't blame them for that. Hitler is really marketed as being a major character in this movie, and it was largely presented as a biting satire of Nazi Germany leading up to its release, but neither of those things really accurately represent what this films is. If you wanted that movie, I can see you being disappointed, because "Jojo Rabbit" isn't really all that much about Nazis. And for the first 20 minutes I was indeed skeptical, as the movie's tone isn't immediately clear, and it takes its time to really start becoming about what it's really about, but what it is about is being a lonely child looking for connection, and I think it does that so incredibly well that isn't worth worrying about what the movie isn't.
Jojo isn't old enough to really understand Nazism and the political factors that motivate it, he just sees it as a club that everyone else is part of, and as a tragically uncool child he wants nothing more than to be a part of that group. So I can't really blame the movie for not digging into Nazis deeper, because it's fundamentally a story told through the eyes of a child who doesn't even really know what's happening. And I love that, it's a really unique perspective to give to the war. I love the more tender moments it has between Jojo and his mother, and with Elsa, that capture the simple desires of a boy that really wouldn't be any different in any time or setting. He just wants to feel like he isn't alone in the world, the war just happens to be making that even harder for him by dividing people even more than usual. But the moments where he does connect with Elsa and starts question Nazism hit me so hard, and I think they are some of the most beautiful scenes I've seen on film in years (it might be a comedy, but I cried more at this than in any drama I've seen all year). Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie's performances just touched me so deeply, and watching the growth of their relationship was truly what makes this movie special to me, over any of the humour.
But that's not to say I didn't still like the humour. I thought the jokes for the most part landed really well, everyone else is in the cast is just great (I think Archie Yates as Yorki is the funniest character of the year), it has some stunning images, and the soundtrack is all bangers. Also this movie has easily one of my favourite endings to any movie ever. And that's probably a bit hyperbolic, but it genuinely shook my soul and rocked me to my core in a way that nothing else has in a long time. It's definitely a movie that I'll have to think about more in the future, and one I'm curious to discuss with others, but my immediate reaction is to say that this movie affected me in a far deeper way than I was ever expecting it to, and it's one of those movie going experiences I suspect will stick with me for a long time and make me return to this film many times over.