Beau is Afraid review – A self-indulgent three-hour freakout

Beau is Afraid review – A self-indulgent three-hour freakout

A portly, grey-haired Joaquin Phoenix is Beau Wasserman, a friendless neurotic living in squalor, stricken with depression and saddled with serious mummy issues.

What can be only loosely described as plot sends Beau from an urban dystopia to the posh pad of his overbearing mother (Patti LuPone).

Along the way he is adopted by bizarre couple Roger (Nathan Lane) and Grace (Amy Ryan) who appear to have gone nuts while grieving for their soldier son.

Then there’s an equally baffling interlude with a theatre group who have set up camp to perform in a forest.

While watching their play, Beau is transported into its setting of fable-like villages and goes wandering.

There are flashes of genius. An early scene where Beau’s apartment is besieged by drunks is tense, funny and deeply unsettling.

But Aster could have cut an hour – any hour – from this film without his audience noticing.

Beau ends the film exactly as he began it – afraid.

I was bored and bewildered.

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