Mónica’s review published on Letterboxd:
Revolting, the fact Jojo Rabbit is sold as a satire is ironically a funnier statement than anything found on such an unaware and potentially harmful film. Waititi not only satirices one of the most gruesome and tragic events of human story through a Wes Anderson "pastel" tonality in which war is turned into a sugared visual candy but is painfully unfunny; it fails on its own regular basis as a spoof turning something acute and grotesque into something childish and cartoonish.
Waititi seems to ignore the nature of a parody, he doesn't seem to differentiate between "laughing at" and "laughing with". Here we don't laugh of Hitler, we laugh WITH him. Is a film distasteful on its own nature, is a Nazi kitsch. The problem starts within the first minutes, Waititi takes for granted that the audience has the same political ideologies of him, he believes that "if I don't believe in X then no one does", he seems kinda self-absorbed to me in this regard. A brief information I'd want to add as collation is his own commentary over his upcoming Star Wars film, he says that "The story feels very much mine”. I mention this because it proves or at least we could argument what Jojo Rabbit already reflected: that Waititi feels as if what he wants to transmit revolves around him, is a narcissist statement.
Of course when watching a film we are talking that it serves as a personal expressionism of the director so we shouldn't expect for an artist to cope with our predisposed expectations. However there's a difference between expressing oneself and expecting everyone to agree with myself. Waititi assumes that everyone has an anti-nazi mentality, he is either too self-absorbed to realize that majority is not a totality or way too ignorant (arguably naive) of the modern panorama of politics. Some people unironically will agree with nazism, they'll recite the same hate speech either without self awareness or even worse with awareness and pride but Waititi ignores this because he entrusts his ideology is the general one.
This is why the comedy keeps backsliding into a gruesome apology and exhalation of nazism (during the first half especially). It has the same effect as those twitter trolls that use the word bitch to refer to women and then say "it was a joke, are you that bitter?". Isn't it funny how the phrase Heil Hitler is used as a punch line? Isn't it funny how Jojo calls jews dirty demons? Isn't it funny how Yorki blew up a building? Isn't it funny how a Nazi said to kids (only girls of course) that they are gonna be taught how to get pregnant on a summer camp? I didn't laughed I was angry with such contempt, antisemitism and nazism is just a part of the gag.
On one hand if this is a depiction of blindness fanaticism them how is Jojo such an underdeveloped and inept protagonist? His whole personality is drawn over a swastika, his whole existence is lingered to his apology to nazism, in fact we don't know anything more than he is a nazy edgy kid, outside of his fanaticism he is a blank blackboard. But how is fanaticism generated? There's no insight to this topic on the slightest, we know Jojo's mom and dad were rather anti-system, we are offered no believable reason more than "Jojo is a kid" but a kid is not a synonym of incapacity to articulate opinions, in fact Jojo proves to have formed his own opinions (as awful as they are) but how? Why?
Elisa is yet another example of Waititi's thoughtless attitudes. Her introduction is an esque-horror composition, in fact she is introduced like a monster, the predator hunting on our lead. Hidden between the walls in a quite claustrophobic setting she is an object to evoke terror. Waititi thinks he is been evocative, creative and edgy by mutating genres as part of his gags but he is mindlessly joking without taking time to consider sensibility, he is an insensate.
The best way to describe Jojo Rabbit is by comparing it to Fennel's 2019 awarded turd "Promising Young Woman" because Jojo Rabbit is to nazism what Promising Young Woman is to rape: an ill conceived propaganda against its own intended "anti-hate" message, at least this one had the decency to not make the grotesque a catharsis though. Yet this also unveils another flaw: its cheap sentimentalism, Waititi uses macabre tonalities (from the rabbit to the death of Jojo's mom) to trick the audience they are watching something profound, how couldn't you be moved by the death of two innocent beings? But when the film ends you realize the blackboard is still in blank, any sentiment is undeserved as the topics were merely displayed for the laughs; it has the same effect as an apologize after you are stabbed.
This is the part where I suggest other films with a similar thematic that are actually worth the watch, I'd say watch the Pianist but since the director is a child rapist then watch Night & Fog and The Great Dictator instead.