Beau Is Afraid – Ari Aster (2023)
I did not like Aster’s “Midsommar” and (so) I never watched “Hereditary”. I heard “Beau Is Afraid” is something completely different. It sure is! “Beau Is Afraid” is weird. It is so weird that I wonder why it plays in cinemas. How many people can stand something as odd as this?
Joaqin Phoenix plays Beau, a man with massive anxiety disorders. There are monsters lurking under every rock. The viewer sees the world through Beau’s eyes. He lives in a rotten city where people stab each other, where monsters crawl out of cellars and in which everything that can possibly go wrong, goes horribly wrong. Even crossing the street for a bottle of water, is a massive challenge for Beau.
He was going to visit his mother remembering his father on the day that he died, but a drug infused mob trashed his appartement. On top of things, his mother dies in a very unfortunate accident. Beau is expected at the funeral, but he gets hit by a camper truck.
That is about the easy part of the film.
From his nursing address Beau wanders into a community living in the forest and performing plays which -incidentally- tell the story of Beau’s life. The film switches to surrealistic animation to make a circle back to the present where Beau finds himself in a situation which could never have occurred. Perhaps his life is not as miserable as he always thought? The shimmering optimism is soon gone when Beau arrives at his mother’s place.
“Beau Is Afraid” is mostly a very strange drama. The viewer goes from strange scenes with strange humour to completely different even stranger scenes and the story gets as blurry as Beau’s mind.
Indeed, not a film for people who want a clear cut horror film with scare moments. There is an incidental scene with some gore, but mostly the film is a peek into the mind of person who has lost his wits at birth.
Amusing, certainly. Not a brilliant film though, but I do not get to watch a film as odd as this one, so I have to give Aster some bonus points for that.