Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this past weekend and as it turns out, critics aren't exactly loving — at least as much as some of the filmmaker's previous projects. The film from Fox Searchlight Pictures debuted on Rotten Tomatoes with a 62 percent Fresh rating, just two points away from earning the site's feared "Rotten" stamp.
Since winning the hearts of many over with the mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows (96 percent Certified Fresh), Waititi's been on a bit of hot streak with critically-acclaimed films in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (96 percent Certified Fresh) and Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok (93 percent Certified Fresh).
As of this writing, the review-aggregating site is counting 21 reviews with many critiquing the film's comedy, oftentimes saying it's a step down from what's been in previous Waititi films. "What Waititi thinks is shockingly audacious is in fact frustratingly timid, he opts for a gentle prod when maybe a punch would do," The Guardian's Benjamin Lee says.
Others praised the movie's "strange, sweet" humor like Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt. "[Waititi] finds such strange, sweet humor in his storytelling that the movie somehow maintains its ballast, even when the tone inevitably (and it feels, necessarily) shifts," Greenblatt says.
In addition to writing and directing, Waititi also appears in the film as Adolph Hitler, the imaginary friend of the film's main character. In a previous interview, the filmmaker admitted it was a bit weird getting into the role.
"I felt weird about it," Waititi shared. "Even though the character in my film is not evil — he's got a 10-year-old's brain because he comes out of Jojo's head — there's elements to him that are shared with the actual guy."
Starring alongside Waititi is Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, and Rebel Wilson. The full synopsis for Jojo Rabbit can be found below.
"Writer-director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunter for the Wilderpeople), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, Jojo Rabbit, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in her attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his naive patriotism."
Jojo Rabbit is due for release October 18th.