Director – Jessica Hausner – 2019 – UK – Cert.12A – 105m
Available on Blu-ray from Monday, June 15th.
A scientific explanation follows a vertiginous shot circling over rows of plants in a high tech, white, laboratory nursery against an eerily unearthly electronic score. Alice (Emily Beecham) and Chris (Ben Whishaw) have genetically engineered a plant which in return for being looked after, watered regularly and talked to emits a scent which will make its carer/owner happy.
Outside of work, single mum Alice confides in her psychologist (Lindsay Duncan) her worries that she doesn’t give her young son Joe (Kit Connor) enough of her time. We sense that Alice is a control freak concerned that her “handling the unpredictable” job may include elements she can’t manage. Then she crosses a line by bringing one of the happiness plants home for Joe to nurture, naming it Little Joe. In caring for the plant, he sniffs its scent. As he becomes more and more occupied with the plant’s welfare, he neglects other things, including his hitherto beloved mother.
Over at DMovies.org I review Little Joe on its UK theatrical release.