For Jojo is a German drama film about two best friends, Paula and Jojo, who battle personal boundaries, growing older and drifting apart as they both make and leave behind relationships.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
For Jojo follows childhood best friends Jojo and Paula. They live together and have a very close bond until Jojo has to move away to Tulum for work.
The inseparable friends now find themselves a great distance apart, and Paula desperately tries to get Jojo and their friendship back to how it was earlier.
While Jojo tries to build her life and identity away from Paula, the latter struggles to accept the changes that are bound to take place, especially when Jojo announces that she is getting married to Daniel, a childhood acquaintance she bumps into at the airport with Paula.
Daniel grew up in the same town as the two friends and was coincidentally on the same flight as Jojo. What starts as being happy to see a familiar place in an unfamiliar country soon blossoms into something more.
Paula tries her best to put a spoke in their relationship because she just cannot bear the thought of seeing Jojo sharing her life with someone else and also, as it is revealed later, because her own mother died of suicide due to what was presumably an unhappy marriage.
Paula instigates and attempts to manipulate Jojo into breaking off the engagement, and even befriends Daniel’s ex, Ellin and uses their relationship to instigate Jojo.
The great reveal comes when Jojo realises that Daniel and Ellin never officially broke up, and still text each other as well.
Paula and Jojo comfort each other, and an almost dream-like sequence takes place as they try to resolve their conflicts. This movie is primarily about learning how to grow and let go of relationships that are the closest to your heart, especially if they are dragging you down.
For Jojo ending explained in detail:
Jojo moving back to the island
Jojo’s return to the island she grew up on is a symbolic return to her past as a grown woman, now ready to make new memories in her hometown, not necessarily including Paula in all of them.
Jojo has her own life path set now, away from the codependency she earlier shared with Paula. While Paula tries to interfere in their marriage, she tries to draw a boundary between their current relationship, but to no avail.
While Jojo calls the island her home, Paula refers to Jojo as her home- These contrasting ideas serve as the base for their relationship now. Her move back to the island is with the intent of making new memories with Daniel, not just reliving her old ones with Paula.
Paula’s psychological distress
Paula cannot seem to bear the fact that Jojo and she are inevitably drifting apart, and cannot let go of their previous friendship.
She is too attached to the idea of being the only important person in Jojo’s life that she crosses all boundaries to ensure the marriage doesn’t take place.
She’s lonely, has issues with attachment and does not have a clear path for her life after Jojo. Everything she has done so far has been by keeping Jojo in mind, or using her as support. Without her to fall back on, she is clueless about her aspirations.
Her fear of being alone, anger and extreme mood swings also result in self-destructive behaviour.
By the end of the movie, Paula and her destructive tendencies leave her all alone, with no one to accompany her. Her history of failed relationships, the aftermath of her mother’s death, and the presumed loss of Jojo as a sense of security leave her lonelier than ever.
The ending portion with regards to Jojo’s marriage is ambiguous and open to interpretation in a few different ways.
While Jojo and Daniel getting married can be a reality, it can also be a figment of imagination from both ends. In all cases, Paula is not present in the scene because of their differences in opinion.
If it is reality, it is a clear step to indicate the distance now present between the two friends. Paula has finally set Jojo free from her expectations. If it is one of their imaginations, the abject loneliness contrasted with the joy of marriage could perhaps foretell what the future holds for the two individually.
But however one chooses to understand this, one thing is common- the ending brings with it extreme emotions signalling the end of an era for the two friends. They are both now free to live life and make their own decisions, no matter how opposed the other might be to it. They have to let go and proceed on their own paths.
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