Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit ★★★★½

Flirting with bad taste on an ambitious and almost precarious level, ‘Jojo Rabbit’ (2019) finds an unprecedented tenderness and humanity within the film’s sensitive subject matter to assemble a wildly entertaining and vivaciously hilarious anti-hate satire without ever losing a firm anchor on its grim reality that wisely never shies away from truly heartbreaking and outright horrifying elements synonymous with the film’s historical material. While stylistically and thematically similar to Wes Anderson’s distinctiveness, Writer/Director Taika Waititi (‘What We Do in the Shadows’ (2014), ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (2017)) implements an exclusive vividness and warmth to his visual style that bestows a unique personality and energy to the film while also utilizing clever subtlety for emotionally detailed effect. The film’s irreverent humor initially begins too on-the-nose with its execution but quickly and gratefully stabilizes by conveying a buffoonish tone that folds its controversial context, adroitly undermining the authority of inherently abhorrent ideologies through the veil of comedy while maintaining a conscious, exquisitely balanced duality in the film’s starkly serious moments within its latter half. In his impressive feature film debut, Roman Griffin Davis demonstrates an exceptional performance as the film’s enthusiastically naïve title character, sharing wonderful chemistry and hilarious interplay with the earnest delivery and comedic timing of fellow newcomer Archie Yates and the poignant Thomasin McKenzie, who helps reinforce the film’s complexity and stunning depth within its character connections. The film’s fantastic and humorous supporting cast from the likes of Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, and Stephen Merchant assist in effortlessly carrying the remainder of the film’s magnetism. Highlights of which include Scarlett Johansson’s bittersweet and conflicted maternal instincts that are wonderfully offset by her spunky attitude and warm presence in a distinguishing performance alongside Taika Waititi’s absurdly surreal caricature, whose petulant, egotistical demeanor consistently develops parallel to the perception of the film’s titular character. Quaint, quirky, and passionately affecting, ‘Jojo Rabbit’ (2019) is a frequently outrageous yet pervasively humanizing coming-of-age story about the disconcerting loss of innocence and affection during cantankerous juncture that brilliantly explores the origins and influences of bigotry, blind hatred, acceptance, tolerance, and the moral pathways one can choose to better themselves. It’s a heartfelt and satisfying crowd-pleaser that warrants an intimate connection for its tight direction, timeless story elements, astute writing, phenomenal performances, and diverse jocularity. ‘Jojo Rabbit’ (2019) is an obvious recommendation for those willing to bypass the film’s surface-level blasphemy to encounter a legitimately excellent influx of joy, terror, hate, and love in equal measure! Thank you!

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