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We’re already afraid of ‘Beau Is Afraid.’ Here’s what we know so far

If you’re still reeling from the horror cult-themed combo of “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” I hope the newest trailer of Ari Aster’s upcoming offering finds you well.

On Apr. 4, arthouse fans’ fave A24 reminded us that Ari’s third feature film “Beau Is Afraid” is closely crawling its way to the Apr. 21 premiere day, through a second trailer. When the first official sneak peek dropped in Jan. 2023, the internet theorists quickly penned their thoughts on what seems to be a brewing trippy, multilayered nightmare fuel starring Joaquin Phoenix (who honestly has the range for exactly that).

In case it’s on your watchlist too, we’re mentally preparing ourselves through some “fun” facts about the film’s interesting origins and some observations from its present clues. 

It’s giving… Joaquin Phoenix x Mommy Issues

The logline says it all. Based on the independent studio’s official site, the movie is said to follow “a paranoid man” named Beau on his way to “an epic odyssey to get home to his mother.” Save for the first part, hearing that kind of plot can make you initially think of fantasy films that involve long and winding roads, dragons, and lack of technology needed for clear communication; hence, the difficulty to get from one place to another. But this concept for an Ari Aster horror-dark comedy film? We can only wonder what unfolds. 

In the first trailer—which opens with a mother’s voice apologizing to her son (“I’m so sorry for what your daddy passed down to you”)—we get a glimpse of how difficult it actually is for Beau to get to his destination. Despite his persistence to make it to his mother, the outside world seems more chaotic than it is, obstacles conspiring against him. This distance lets him make the most out of phone calls—his mom appears twice in his “Recent Calls” log, like his therapist. 

Well, A24 also captioned the second trailer with, “A mother always knows.” 

This has been in Ari Aster’s head for a decade

“I’ve been thinking about this movie for like, 10 years,” the director-writer confesses during an exclusive A24 chat, in disbelief that the idea is now materialized. Variety also reveals that Ari had already “dreamed” of making this film even before he caught people’s attention with “Hereditary” and “Midsommar”. The New York Times also reports that Ari thought it would be his debut feature, having shot a short sequence during his graduate school era at the American Film Institute. 

So far, this peek into the filmmaker’s mind appears ambiguous in the trailers (“Was that a floating angel?” and Other Thoughts). But if you want a clearer picture, take it from Ari’s hyperspecific description: “If you pumped a 10-year-old full of Zoloft and had him get your groceries, that’s like this movie.” If that doesn’t work, here’s a shorter, more digestible bit: “It’s like a Jewish ‘Lord of the Rings,’ but he’s just going to his mom’s house. I want to put you in the experience of being a loser.” Cue laughter. 

Emma Stone had to check in on Ari Aster post-screening

According to Variety, Emma Stone had a question for the “Beau Is Afraid” writer-director post-surprise screening at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn: “Are you okay, man?”

The article also says that “Beau Is Afraid” serves as one way for Ari to face his personal anxieties. Its origin story, though, leans towards humor. 

“It began with me just trying to make myself laugh,” Ari told The New York Times, in relation to the script. The idea soon evolved through the years. “I built out something that was this comic, Freudian odyssey, very episodic and, I thought, very funny.” For someone who called his own film “Midsommar” a “joke,” take what you can from that, I guess? 

Read more: 

The philosophy of The Everything Bagel in ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once” 

What will horror movies look like in the next decade?

‘Midsommar’ is the most beautiful creepfest you’ll ever see

Still from “Beau Is Afraid’s” second trailer 


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