Little Joe (2019) – Movie Review
28th June 2021 Written by Peter Walkden
Alice (Emily Beecham) is a single mother working as a highly skilled plant breeder in a corporation lab. Alice, along with her lab partner Chris (Ben Whishaw), is on the verge of a massive discovery that could not only change the future of plants but radically breakthrough for all humans on Earth. You see, Alice’s new plant longs for connection, just like a human. Therefore, anyone who would own this plant would need to keep it warm and regularly speak kindly to it. In return, the plants produce a scent that makes the owner a lot happier and more confident.
The corporation desires to present Alice’s significant discovery at an upcoming fair, providing all final testing and evaluations are cleared beforehand. While Alice is confident about her new flower creation, “Little Joe”, she decides to break the company rules and take one of the plants home to give her son as a gift. For Alice, her son is all she has, and she will do anything to protect him. But while everything is heading in the right direction, Alice is advised by her co-workers of strange activity, which they suspect could be due to the pollination of her new plants. At first, she thinks it is just silly talk or her co-workers pressuring her. Still, it is not long until she starts to form her own suspicions and experience strange occurrences around the lab and in her personal life, including changes in her son.
The plot of this film, while familiar, was quite fun and mysterious. Are Alice’s plants causing havoc around the lab and in her family life? The film sets up both sci-fi and thriller elements early on, and some moments even feel like an attempt at drama. The filming style was excellent, which consists of smooth panning and zooming. Everything on the screen was easy to watch, including creative elements relating to lighting and sound. Performances from the lead were also exemplary.
The film’s soundtrack is highly odd and slightly quirky. It is an unusual choice with a mixture of generally loud or high-pitched frequencies. I understand the film was attempting to make uncomfortable sounds to go with the quirky plot, but other than the beating drums, the musical score did not quite work for me, and at times it either felt unfitting or painful. The pacing of each act was slow but still ok to watch. My curiosity about where the film was headed kept me watching. But sadly, the film’s last and final moments were highly disappointing and easily one of the biggest letdowns after everything built up. I truly hoped for something far more significant than what I witnessed.
Overall, while Little Joe delivers a familiar story, I found myself quite curious and invested in its plot. There are some pleasant moments of tension and storytelling on screen. Performances here are excellent, with a filming style to complement them. However, I was somewhat disappointed by the film’s final moments, which felt slow and relatively weak. The musical score is also questionable and, at times, unfitting. This film may not suit everyone’s taste or style.
Little Joe (2019) is Available in Australian Cinemas from July 1st!