Released in two thousand twenty-one. “Los Angeles” is the story of Jojo, a young mute, who thinks she hears God calling her to save “the Baby Jesus.” She packs five angels in a shoe shine kit and takes a one-way trip to Tampa, Florida, where she is picked up by Cash, an escaped convict. The two hit the road with the FBI on their tail.
This is how the film begins. It’s a combination of many things; a road trip movie, a buddy movie, a fish out of water movie, an art film, and more. None of these, however, adequately encompasses what this film truly is.
Rebekah Kennedy portrays Jojo as a confident, educated, independent spirit who knows precisely what she’s doing every step of the journey and how those around her inability to speak as a sign of a more significant disability.
Her belief that the voice of God speaks to her and that the angels in the small box contained in the shoe shine kit have a role in her finding the baby Jesus drives her from one end of the country to another.
This faith in the unprovable is only matched by those of Cash, a hardened criminal who is on a mission to find help in the form of a person carrying balloons in San Francisco, known only as “the Panda Man.” The Prison’s rumors state that the Panda man is the only person who can give him a new life, so Cash escapes Prison to find him and start over.
Since its release, this film has drawn both praise and condemnation for the events portrayed in the movie. Although the act is never performed on screen, Cash does use Jojo as a way to make money from truck stops along the way.
This act, however, is portrayed as consensual, and Jojo is a willing participant and asks later in the movie to continue the money-making scheme, even after Cash loses his taste for selling Jojo to strangers.
At different cities along the way, Jojo opens her shine kit, and the angels perform. Those who hear the angels sing are changed forever and wind up helping Jojo try and find the baby, Jesus.
In the end, you are left to wonder if she was, in fact, called by God and if the angels were ever really in the box at all. But that is okay, as this film is meant for discussions and analysis. Or you can just enjoy the ride.
Our final rating is seven out of ten.