Genetic engineering can be quite a controversial topic at the best of times, and new feature film Little Joe puts it firmly in its crosshairs.
Emily Beecham stars as single mother and senior plant breeder Alice Woodard, who is working hard on developing a plant whose scent makes the owner feel happy, especially if the plant is well taken care of and talked to. But all is not as it seems, and when Alice goes against company guidelines, she takes home one of the experimental plants for her teenage son Joe (Kit Connor).
Little Joe is a bit of a slow burn thriller/mystery. The story has a slow pace, but I kind of feel it suits the plot subject, plants are a little slow growing and take time to develop. So does this film. It kept me guessing the whole time, questioning if events in the film were due to the flower, or human influence. I’m glad I stuck it out to the end.
One thing I loved about this film was the colour theory put into the set and costume design. Quite often the set is muted and pastel tones, with pops of colour coming from the outfits, especially those worn by Alice. It also makes the plant, Little Joe, look more vibrant and rich in colour. I applaud this style choice.
Finally, the film is thoroughly impressive cast. Emily Beecham as Alice was fantastic, playing an intelligent and motivated woman that must question her work. Emily portrays this struggle well and provides further insight through scenes with her therapist. Kit Connor must also be praised for his role as Joe, Alice’s teen son. Part way through the film, his character has a slight change in behaviour, which is subtle but well-acted by the young performer.
Little Joe is sure to divide the pack, however, I’m leaning in the positive direction. The acting is great, the story is good but a little slow and slightly cliché. While I enjoyed it, the slow-burn style may put others off. If you like these kinds of art house horror/thriller films though, definitely give this film a watch. You won’t be disappointed!