segun’s review published on Letterboxd:
I can easily see this as being one of the best films of the year. I really love films that try to make very complex, real stories easy to understand while still keeping that complexity. This was very heartfelt while still being incredibly funny and really fun to watch, this has the perfect balance.
This took a while to build up and if you are not willing to wait for it or don’t really like movies that take long to become something this won’t be for you. Honestly, I was hooked the whole last hour. I think that was because the humor was consistent throughout, but the heart and pain of the film gradually came in. The view point of this, the hitler youth, is I think the most profound because it shows the most vulnerable people believing the most ridiculous claims and being vessels mindless hatred. It shows how their whole personality was literally about being a Nazi and how problematic that is in stunting the development of their emotions and skepticism. In some like Jojo, they idolized Adolf Hitler so much that he became his imaginary friend. I think this aspect of the film is very important because it makes Jojo’s mental struggle tangible, a fight we can literally see.
Elsa really grounds the whole film both with her performance and role as the victim. She also lives in irony, being more human than anyone, accepting Jojo and understanding that his true nature is to be kind and cheerful and that the society to blame for the things he thinks. This films makes her more human in creating her to not be a character who only exists as a representative object of pity. Elsa is witty, kind, and understanding. We really see this through their sarcasm and the “older sister” dynamic she shares with Jojo.
I’m happy I gave this film a chance, it became something I really enjoyed and admired. All of the performances were great and very impressive just because of theirs’ age and how funny it was supposed to be. Really great and would highly recommend.
Side note- this has a couple firsts for me:
•cast member q&a
so basically this is getting heart :)