Beau Is Afraid (2023)
Well I'll admit I feel pretty stupid today. First Asteroid City and then this little ditty from Ari Aster has left me feeling a little dumbstruck. Visually satiated, oh yes, but not quite intellectually satisfied. Now I don't know if the reason for this is my own ineptitude, but most of what I've looked at today has gone right over my head.
Beau is not having a good week. It starts off with raging anxiety about his own existence, followed by a home invasion out his control, a naked hurtle down the street resulting in losing a headlong collision with a speeding car.
And this, frankly, was just the tip of the rollercoasting iceberg.
Nearly three hours down and I'm asking myself if Ari Aster is really, I mean really, giving me Albert Brooks vibes (see 'Defending Your Life' and come back to me when you've finished this).
One of my friends watched this when it first came out (I was in no hurry after Midsommar, tbh) and described the thing as 'selfish'. Now I didn't really know what he meant at the time, but I think I can now see where he was coming from. Aster's deep dive here (and it is deep, just so you know) does come across as the incoherent ramblings of a madman with nothing to lose, yet a definite point to make. A very definite one, in fact, specifically to him. It may not be true, but here we still are, nonetheless.
You cannot fault the imagination required to get this in front of an audience, even with carte blanche and an open cheque book creatively, it is still a stretch of 'Eternal' and 'Spotless' proportions (see what I did there?) to dream the whole thing up in the first place.
Honestly, like Asteroid City, I really enjoyed it and didn't look at my watch once during the whole proceedings. This does not mean I have some understanding of the why and how of it all. It's more graspable than Wes Anderson's latest, but like that, it still makes my brain itchy.