Little Joe

Jessica Hausner
A, GB, D 2019
105 min

Wouldn’t it be perfect to grow happiness in one’s home? Alice Woodard promises exactly that. She works at a corporation breeding genetically enhanced plants. Her newly-developed “Little Joe” model is promoted as a “mood-lifting happy plant”, although the effect doesn’t come for free. “What this plant really needs is love.” Watering will not do with Little Joe. It requires stronger commitment. When Alice takes a prototype specimen home, where her pubescent son Joe is frequently alone, as his mother is a bit of a workaholic, things start to get eerie. Little Joe releases a substance that travels through the nose and straight into the brain. Alice may have gone too far with her manipulations: She conceived of Little Joe as sterile, unable to reproduce. “It’s not natural”, warns Bella, an older colleague. Nature lies strictly beyond the frame in Jessica Hausner’s rigidly detached lab thriller: This future of pervasive perfectability make for a special breed of inhabitants. Everything is discomfortingly stylish about this vision of a not-so-distant world: the costumes, the interior designs, the restrained acting. The strongest effect, though, is the soundtrack, based on works by the Japanese avant-garde composer Teiji Ito. (Bert Rebhandl)

In the presence of Jessica Hausner and Martin Gschlacht (camera).

  • Emily Beecham - Alice
  • Ben Whishaw - Chris
  • Kerry Fox - Bella
  • Kit Connor - Joe
  • David Wilmot - Karl
  • Phénix Brossard - Ric
  • Jessica Hausner
  • Géraldine Bajard
  • Martin Gschlacht
  • Erik Mischijev
  • Matz Müller
  • Karina Ressler
  • C
  • Katharina Wöppermann
  • Tanja Hausner
Coop 99, The Bureau, Essential Films

Coproduction Office

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