This film was previously reviewed in October 2020 as part of our Nightstream Film Festival coverage.

The surrealism within Zoé Wittock’s Jumbo is apparent from the very first scene, opening with blinding lights flashing around the silhouette of a woman. It’s an electrifying and terrifying display all at once, indicative how one feels about their first love. We are then introduced to Jeanne (Noémie Merlant), a timid young woman who works as a night guard at an amusement park, who begins to develop a relationship with the park’s newest attraction, Jumbo. Before meeting Jumbo, Jeanne hides beneath the hood of her jacket, as if just trying to blend into the crowd. But when she encounters Jumbo, she comes alive as the amusement ride lights up the night before her very eyes.

The visuals mixed with the sound design in Jumbo create a truly stunning atmosphere. The shift from the inside of Jeanne’s room, where she is surrounded by string lights and models she’s created of the amusement rides within the park, to her nights with Jumbo, make us feel as if we too are being transported from reality into this fantasy world.

This is an unconventional film that provides an understanding lens to an otherwise misunderstood character who is simply searching for her own “destination happiness.” Merlant is brilliant, showcasing her ability to display such sensuality and vulnerability as we watch her fall in love and experience all of the raw emotions that follow. We can feel the hurt she endures when her honest feelings are rejected by the people around her.

Jumbo, a unique and beautiful addition to the coming-of-age genre, gives us a tender exploration of a young woman’s journey of a first romance and discovering her sexuality along the way, while showing us the harsh reality of what it’s like when society refuses to accept a love they cannot understand.



CAST:  Noémie Merlant, Emmanuelle Bercot, Bastien Bouillon

DIRECTOR: Zoé Wittock

WRITER: Zoé Wittock

SYNOPSIS: Jeanne, a shy woman who works in an amusement park, meets Jumbo, the park’s newest attraction.