Arts & Entertainment

Little Joe

In dynamic scenes of absurd twists, Jessica Hausner’s new film calls audiences to consider their own desire for quick-fix happiness. 

Little Joe, follows the production of a mystical plant, bred by Alice Woodard (Emily Beecham) to make people happy. Through interaction with enigmatic characters, Alice comes to understand her plant is more than it seemed. It may be changing people. 

This film holds a beautiful pace. Bongo drums and high-pitched music as audio motifs carry scenes with eeriness, yet fluidity. A sterile, blue canvas is pierced with warm objects; a red chai, pink gloves, the deep crimson of Little Joe plants, mirroring how Little Joe may penetrate our own ideas. Do we have fears laying dormant? 

Costuming is a nod to the 70s, as is the interior set design. This is fitting, given the film’s deeply postmodern ending. (No spoilers, but you’ll definitely be left to figure out the role of the plant on your own). 

Overall, this on-the-nose piece is thoroughly artistic, yet leaves the audience working hard to evoke meaning. It’s beauty is easy to identify; it’s implications perhaps more veiled. 

★★★ ½

Reviewed by Lucinda Garbutt-Young

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