Romantic comedies are all about unlikely pairings that don’t really make sense, but you go along with them anyway. But the Belgian film “Jumbo” takes “unlikely” a step further in a weird yet tender romantic film about a woman who falls in love with a Tilt-a-Whirl.
That’s right, a Tilt-a-Whirl at an amusement park. First-time feature director and writer, Zoe Wittock‘ “Jumbo” follows “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” star Noémie Merlant, a shy young woman who begins courting an amusement park ride. The film was loved during its run at the festival circuit last year since it premiered at Sundance early in 2020. In our review from that festival, Andrew Bundy was not super impressed, writing: “As an embodiment of existential anxiety, it’s often effective, but other than stunning composition work and a few blips of vibrant harmony, it’s largely empty as a romance.”
Meanwhile, in our interview with the director, Zoe Wittock described the film “as a coming-of-age story and coming out story,” comparing the film to an allegory “for many different types of identities or sexualities or anyone that can relate. Differences of who we are as people is the theme I wanted to explore. People will watch this and hopefully be at least open to learning more about objectophila. You don’t accept it, fine, at least you have a little of an understanding.”
The film’s distributor is describing “Jumbo” as follows: “Jeanne, a shy young woman, lives at home with her uninhibited bartender mother and works the graveyard shift as a cleaner at an amusement park. Her mother wants her to meet a man, but Jeanne prefers tinkering in her bedroom with wires, light bulbs, and spare parts, creating miniature versions of theme park rides. During her late-night shifts she begins spending intimate time with the alluring new Tilt-A-Whirl ride that she decides to call Jumbo. Finding herself seduced by ‘his’ red lights, smooth chrome, and oily hydraulics, Jeanne concludes that the thrilling new relationship she wants to pursue is with Jumbo.”
Dark Star Pictures will release “Jumbo” in select theaters on February 19, with a VOD release shortly after.