Not Waititi's best, but still a solid comedy with a meaningful message behind it - 6/10
Verdict: Taika Waititi is an international treasure and every movie of his is a little gem. "Jojo Rabbit", which marks the first time that one of his feature films gets recognized by the Academy (6 times, nonetheless!) is no exception, despite the fact that it's probably my least favorite entry in his already rich filmography to date.
The self-proclaimed "anti-hate satire" follows a young, determined boy in Nazi Germany whose life is changed when he discovers that his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in the walls of their home. In old Waititi fashion, the film is mostly a comedy, but is also his most dramatic work yet. And that's sort of my issue with it. Not the dramatic part itself, but rather the way it was handled. Comedy is easily Waititi's forte, and "Jojo Rabbit" is further proof that the Kiwi director can make anything, Hitler himself included, absolutely hilarious. The first 10 minutes, which are purely made with comedic intent, are by far my favorites of a movie that then started to gradually become more about the message it wanted to convey, which I found to be very uplifting, than the laughs. And this is where Waititi's weaknesses started to become apparent. I wouldn't call any of it bad, but rather lacking in terms of emotional impact. It was pretty safe, filled with cheesy moments and conventional plot elements that made me wish we could go back to the scenes featuring the Waititi's take on Hitler, Sam Rockwell's Captain K, or Archie Yates' Yorki. The rest of the performances, mainly by Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, and Scarlett Johansson were all pretty good as well, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for the first two.
"Jojo Rabbit" may be my least favorite Waititi film, but I'm still glad it's making so much buzz because it does have a lot of heart. The director over the last couple of years has been deservedly rising in popularity, and I'll be running to check out his next project.
FINAL GRADE: 6/10
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