Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid (A24, 4.21) was previewed yesterday (Saturday, 4.1) to a paying audience at Brooklyn’s Alamo Draft House (445 Albee Square, Brooklyn, NY 11201), and Variety’s Brent Lang was apparently there to endure it.
Before reading any further, HE readers are requested to read Wikipedia’s longish Beau Is Afraid synopsis, which goes on for eight bulky paragraphs.
Presuming that the synopsis is legit, Aster’s 179-minute “horror comedy” (set to open in select IMAX theaters on 4.14 before opening wider on 4.21) is apparently some kind of grotesque, audience–punishing fantasia — a surreal acid trip version of a 21st Century Alice in Wonderland-meets-Homer’s The Odyssey, except with a bloated, gray-haired, “twitchy and over-medicated” Phoenix in the Alice role — and not for the faint of heart.
A few excerpts from Lang’s article, which was filed late Saturday afternoon:
(1) Q&A moderator Emma Stone to Aster following the screening: “Are you okay, man?”
(2) The film features a paint-drinking, antagonistic teenaged protagonist (Kylie Rogers), an animated sequence, a “recurring gag involving Phoenix’s distended testicles”, and “a sex scene with [the mid 50ish] Parker Posey that may rank among the wackiest ever committed to film.”
(3) “The [Draft House] crowd seemed to love it, although the general public may have a tougher time” with this “bladder–testing epic.”
(4) Aster comment during the Stone Q&A: “I want [the audience] to go through [Phoenix’s] guts and come out of his butt.”
(5) The black-garbed Phoenix attended the screening but chose not to participate in the Q&A.
Lang’s article ends as follows: