Beau is Afraid

Following the sudden death of his mother, a mild-mannered but anxiety-ridden man confronts his darkest fears as he embarks on an epic, Kafkaesque odyssey back home.

"For Ari Aster, life is one big sick joke. Or, rather, it can be.

In his wonderfully disturbing new movie, Beau Is Afraid, the writer-director finds a deep and perverse kind of comedy in the misadventures of its title character, a psychologically and sexually stunted man who embarks on a surreal journey to attend his mother’s funeral. As played by Joaquin Phoenix, Beau is a walking, barely talking bundle of nerves and anxieties – a paranoiac whose fears are constantly confirmed as he encounters-slash-endures one pitch-black gag after another, from discovering his mother’s death during a phone call with a UPS driver to losing his virginity to the soundtrack of Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby.

Unrelenting and juvenile, yet engineered with the sophisticated wit of a true student of cinematic history, Beau Is Afraid is a chortled gag of a movie. And its core sensibility – I’m laughing, but should I be? – easily bleeds into Aster’s real world." - Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail


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