Jumbo is a love story between shy wallflower Jeanne and fairground attraction Jumbo. Chuck Tingle would be proud.
I thought this movie might go into objectophilia and explain how you can become attracted to or even love an object. But this film is the love story between Jeanne and Jumbo, not about Jeanne having to explain herself. Which, once you think about it, makes for a much better film. Also, what is there to explain exactly? You like the look of somebody, you enjoy being around them, they make you feel good, what is there to explain?
So it deals with that in very short time and then goes onto their relationship, their struggle to be together, and their struggle for acceptance. Jeanne’s mother has a very hard time understanding Jeanne’s love and doesn’t react well. She encourages a romantic connection with creepy fairground manager Marc, who I just didn’t like from the start. He’s always invading Jeanne’s space and just sets off my ick alarm.
Jeanne is shown interacting with Jumbo in a way that is mutual, consensual, reciprocal, and expressive. What I liked was it is never conclusively shown if any of this is “really” happening. That’s Jeanne’s mum’s biggest objection to the whole thing – it’s not real.
But we have tons of experiences that are not real, and we don’t act like those have no validity in a person’s emotional life. We dream, we hallucinate. Millions of people all over the world have religious experiences through prayer, meditation, and visions that I would categorise as “not real”, but it doesn’t mean they’re not meaningful to the people who experience them. If you can have an incredibly intimate and life-altering relationship with an invisible entity that doesn’t exist, then you can definitely have one with a machine that does.
Director Zoe Wittock takes a story that could have been very silly, and kinda shows how the silliness is the things we do in love, and the object of our affections being an actual object doesn’t make it that much more in the scheme of things. Genuine feel-good love story.