RasmusS’s review published on Letterboxd:
This wasn't an easy movie to enjoy but eventually the child perspective won me over.
Of course anti-war message and hatred toward Nazism runs in the veins of this black comedy but the situation is parallel to Apocalypse Now where you start thinking whether the bombing of Vietnamese villages or in this case slander of Jewish people is taken a bit too far. However, like in Apocalypse Now there is a saving grace which is the fact that Jojo Rabbit is filmed from a child's perspective. Despite my problems with how hastily it happens, our two main characters develop a bond that because they're young allows Waititi to approach the subject as one-dimensionally as he does.
At first the film feels cheap and way too lighthearted in its message, to justify the propaganda, nicknames and drawings of Jewish people and almost ignore the millions of people that died in concentration camps by throwing in satirical heil hitler jokes that aren't even funny. And I still don't like that but I gradually got into the same wavelength used to observe the brainwashing of children and how fast they come to their senses when you guide them to the right path and give them space. Granted Waititi takes an extremely optimistic viewpoint speed running plot points to turn Jojo from a boy with an imaginary Hitler as a friend to a boy who's in love with someone he has been taught to hate. In many ways the lack of Johansson's character, for example, is at the core of this problem because although you understand Jojo is influenced by her goodwill, there isn't enough material around Jojo in general to really make the gravitas of the whole situation sink in. Yet the pay off is there and not even the thin characterization or hurried plot points can take that away. It's about these kids turning a pure hatred into a loving friendship that gives humanity hope.
Satire is a tough one and I made a lot of excuses so I'll keep the rating down but I was ready to drop even more points at first.