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Jojo Rabbit [2019] ‘TIFF’ Review: Hop Along on this Journey

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I barely knew anything about Jojo Rabbit going in, and wish I didn’t even know what I did. The film is a breath of fresh air and best taken in with no prior expectations or ideas. It has a hook and plot that’s so unique and captivating, I was left truly in awe of the creativity on display.




The film starts off slow. But even when you’re not quite sure of what it’s about – it’s undeniably entertaining.  Once it reveals all its cards, the wait is justified. I was completely invested and cared for what happens. As it unfolds, it stays engaging. Jojo Rabbit has the ability to leave you in splits in certain moments and have you reaching for the tissues in others. The screenplay manages to conjure genuinely tender and touching moments without ever seeming over the top or manipulative. There is a healthy dose of commentary and satire. However, this is used in just the right amount so as to never outshine the primary narrative. The film tells its story with a winning mix of sincerity and boldness.

jojo rabbit
First still from the set of WW2 satire, JOJO RABIT. (From L-R): Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) has dinner with his imaginary friend Adolf (Writer/Director Taika Waititi), and his mother, Rosie (Scarlet Johansson). Photo by Kimberley French. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Roman Griffin Davis in the lead role is an absolute revelation. He doesn’t miss a beat and truly commands your attention with his expressions and dialogue delivery. Scarlett Johansson and Thomasin McKenzie are also stellar and memorable in important roles. Sam Rockwell leaves a mark with his comic timing and ability to elevate any scene. Taika Waititi has a very delicate balance to manoeuvre when playing a satirical version of Adolf Hitler but absolutely nails it. The entire casts play off each other well and share good chemistry. They bring the writing to life effectively and warrant emotional investment in these characters.




Jojo Rabbit is an ambitious film. It explores themes of family and friendship against the backdrop of being a commentary and satire on blind nationalism, among other things. For a film that covers a lot of ground, I do wish that it brought more insight and depth into the issues it tackles. However, this is a minor gripe in a screenplay that’s otherwise a winning cocktail of tones and genres. The production design, while mostly very well done at times felt a bit artificial. There were moments where I didn’t feel like I’d truly been transported to the films setting as I’ve felt in other historical films.

Also, Read – Zana [2019] TIFF Review: Adriana Matoshi is Magnetic in this Post-War Tormentor

Go hop along with Jojo Rabbit. It’s well written and acted and will make you feel a multitude of emotions. It’s unique and creative storytelling that deserves to be witnessed.

★★★

Jojo Rabbit Trailer

Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson
Cinematography: Mihai Malaimare Jr.
Editing: Tom Eagles
Executive Producer: Kevan Van Thompson
Producers: Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley
Production Companies: Piki Films, Fox Searchlight Pictures, TSG Entertainment, Defender Films
Production Designer: Ra Vincent
Screenplay: Taika Waititi
Sound: Ai-Ling Lee, Tobias Poppe
Original Score: Michael Giacchino
TIFF

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