hopscotchee: sam rockwell score: 94 rating: PG-13 time: 108 minutes
outstanding!! absolutely outstanding!! legit, this is an amazingly stunning, mandatory viewing masterpiece!! adapted from the novel caging skies by christine leunens, this comedy, set during the heat of world war two, follows a young, adorable german boy and his mindless allegiance and imaginary conversations with adolf hitler. however, the plot takes a twist when he finds out that his mom is hiding a jew in their house. behind the brilliant mind of taika waititi, this movie respectfully takes on the issues and conflicts of nazi germany while equally balancing the film with humor and pathos. it's lighthearted fun leaves you on a chipper ending than most war-set movies, but never takes away from the overall message. so despite what initial critics said, jojo rabbit is a flawless piece, delivering the importance of amity and unity that is exactly what needs to be spotlighted right now.
now, there are several points that could be made to start off this review, however, immediately, the first thing to mind is 'why the helck did roman griffin davis not win the oscar?!!' nothing against you, taron - congrats - but, roman griffin davis definitely laid down some pretty top-notch acting chops. for one, his german accent was hecka impressive, and his facial expressions were a knockout. but then to lead a movie at such a young age - !!!! - he did this incredibly well, harmonizing the weight of the work, the humor in the script, and the artsy-fun-ness of the story all together. and even the level of emotion he portrayed. like (spoiler) when he wells up at the end, as he lies to elsa about the result of the war, saying she must stay hidden so she can stay with him. this scene is impactful on its own, but the way roman griffin davis worked up all the chemistry and bonding that he and thomasin mckenzie had perfectly built up in previous scenes added an extra level of pain to the scene. pain that was (hashtag props) especially heard in his voice, as if it was knotted up in his throat. we mean, that's oscar worthy for sure. not to mention this, no joke, being his first acting credit!! - like, dang!! that's jamie bell (hashtag billy elliot) territory. way to hit it out of the park at the first go. all that said, the actors and actresses in this movie were beyond fantastic and did such a fabby job as each of their characters, which up-leveled this movie entirely, bringing hand-to-hand special quirks that make the film 100% original. nonetheless, this was just the immediate point to mind that we wanted to bring up, because how can you watch this and not be a die-hard roman griffin davis fan? (just saying, don't know about you, but we're definitely excited to see what he does next.)
moving along, this oscar was just a miss sight in our opinion, but the movie did not fail to receive the praise that it deserved with its wins at the 2020 oscars and BAFTAs for best adapted screenplay. rightfully so, the script upheld a speedy and intriguing pace, moving from one interaction to the next, while precisely layering in all the little details that tied the movie together. for example, how (spoiler) elsa and jojo's dancing at the end touchingly related back to elsa and rosie's conversation about freedom from earlier. by remembering and incorporating these details, the flow of the script and story collectively felt whole and more complete - not to mention every scene was, in return, purposeful and not just fluff or added in for no reason. because of this, never once did you lose your interest in the film. likewise, the other merit of this script was how, like we said, although it dealt with the heaviness of world war two, the story's baseline was pumped full of a youthful spirit, focusing its point of view in a child's mindset. this innovative perspective was not only genius, because it kept the movie tender and upbeat, removing any viewer's tainted decision to not watch a war movie because it's 'sad', but also allowed the movie's message to be learned through the eyes of a child, and therefore, more closely related to the audience, since, no matter who sits down to watch it, all can relate, because (to quote victor from shazam!) we're all "young at heart".
lastly, we would hate to not give a shout out to the obviously, obviously amazing teamwork of the prop, costume, and set design teams. from the cohesive color palette, one of a kind and uniquely designed settings, and bold and crisp costumes, every scene was quality and such an eye-catcher, playing superbly into the eccentric feel of this film. they definitely deserve the ol' throw-back-to-kindy-g round of applause with this one, because it is clear that major thought was put into this, and the result of the work was absolutely impeccable.
so, to say the least, jojo rabbit was incredibly beautiful and sincere, thematically put together to create an absolute masterpiece and one heck of a great watch!!
-- thanks, sam xo