A film that discusses love, the need for affection, the correspondence between being loved and loving, and a plant created to make people happy. Everything it contains inside Little Joe: The business of happinessJessica Hausner’s film that at times fascinates like the scent of a beautiful flower.
But it has many hidden things.
It is at least curious how a film was shot and which had its premiere in Cannes Film Festival before the pandemic, having at the center the manipulation of a virus that is inhaled and has consequences, we will see which ones.
Not that Austrian Jessica Hausner and her co-writer Géraldine Bajard were premonitory.
The protagonist is Alice (Emily Beecham, who she won the best actress award for this role at Cannes), who is a plant grower. She and her colleague Chris (Ben Whitshaw, Q in the latest James Bond) created Little Joe, a genetically modified plant. The main goal was to get a plant whose aroma made people happy. If they treat it well, the plant in question appreciates it, delivering what is hard to call happiness. The human body that inhales what emanates from the flower produces oxytocin.
It is the hormone known as maternal hormone: it should be the one that initiates the bond between the mother and the newborn.
In other words, they are creating the first antidepressant plant that will reach all homes.
What the plant needs is love.
Of course, something is wrong at the hatchery, and Little Joe – they call him Joe after Alice’s son, who is separated – will end up infecting those who inhale what emanates from the flower.
“My job is to manage the unpredictable. But I can’t control everything. ”Alice stops.
What if I could?
“He is a living being. He needs attention and love, Alice tells Joe as she brings a copy home. Given how workaholic his mother is, Joe discusses going to live in the country with his father. Looking for that attention and affection that he feels his mother is not giving him.
Drama, mystery, science fiction
Little Joe: The business of happiness combines drama, science fiction and mystery and different love stories. Of love for children, and as a couple. Because Chris is in love with Alice and not in secret, just as Bella, another of the breeders, loved her dog, to the point of “becoming another”.
Hausner, who directed Lourdes Y I love you, speaks of manipulation and not just genetics. The maneuvers to get what one wants are what the film questions.
The plant was created sterile, but what would happen if the virus used mutated and became pathogenic? Could the plant try to fight its infertility?
The film also has a few lines of dialogue and / or phrases like “Safety is more important than success” which is hard to believe, mostly from the mouth of those who are told. With an extraordinary production design, measured performance and never exaggerated, Little Joe: The business of happiness It may not leave the viewer like this, happy and happy, but it will entertain and make him think for a while.
“Little Joe: the business of happiness”
drama / mystery Australia, 2019. Original title: “Little Joe”. 105 ‘, SAM 13. Of: Jessica Hausner. With: Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw, Kerry Fox, Kit Connor. Rooms: Belgrano and Norcenter showcase, Cinemark Palermo and Cinépolis Recoleta.