Ari Aster knew Beau is Afraid would be a divisive movie

Joaquin Phoenix in Beau is Afraid
(Image credit: A24)

Ari Aster knew he would split opinions with his latest movie Beau is Afraid, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as an anxious and paranoid man on a journey home to his overbearing mother (Patti LuPone). Part personal odyssey, part surreal horror, and part slapstick comedy, this is very different fare from what we're used to from Aster, whose previous two directorial efforts were horror hits Hereditary and Midsommar.

"I knew this film would be divisive," Aster tells the Inside Total Film podcast. "It's a film of extremes and it's a film that's really playing with structure, in a way that might even feel to people almost counterintuitive, but, for me, it felt totally intuitive. But it's also the structure of a picaresque – it's a film that changes shape. 

"If I could give any sort of disclaimer to anybody going into the film, I would say the film is a shape-shifting beast and that the more open you are to it, the better. It's a film that I felt my way through making, and I think the best way to watch it is to feel your way through it."

The cast of the decades-spanning movie also includes Armen Nahapetia as a teenage version of Beau and Zoe Lister-Jones as a younger version of his mother, along with Nathan Lane, Parker Posey, and Amy Ryan.

For more from the full conversation with Aster, check out the latest episode of the Inside Total Film podcast, available on:

Beau is Afraid arrives in UK cinemas on May 19. For more viewing inspiration, check out our guide to the rest of the most exciting movie release dates coming our way in 2023. 

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.