Hello? Yes, mother? What’s that? You’re worried about me? Okay, me too. But…I’m worried about you too. I get that you’re into this knowing life thing, growing babies, losing your figure and all that, but that doesn’t mean…That’s what I’m saying. There’s dark matter and things like that. No, you don’t know about that. You don’t.
I know it’s not fair. You taught me about life not being fair, remember? But all this goddess stuff, I mean, it’s like father being strong and smart. He gave up on that a long time ago. Anyway, yes, my point! Watch out for Hubris, okay? And always being in control. It’s a bad look. Just saying. Love you too, Ma.
Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid tries to be Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche but ends up more Darren Aronofsky’s Mother, an exhausting and unintelligible portrayal of deep psychological damage. There is some very good stuff, including then many 180-degree pans, the match-cut transitions, the blue paint overdose scene and the fantastic animated sequence.
But there is much more of the very bad stuff – countless scenes tediously rendered – and very stupid stuff too, including the inane finale and, yes, the penis monster.
After the stellar work of Hereditary ($10 million budget) and Midsommar ($9 million), this is what Aster does with $25 million? Yikes. What’s next? Courtside seats for the Knicks?
“When I was a kid…” Davis trailed off. “I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and I pulled down my underwear, and saw this brown stain. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, I was six or something, come on. I knew I shouldn’t have done it. And I felt so bad. You have no idea. I didn’t want my mother to see. I pulled them back up. I wanted to wash them out, but I didn’t know how to do that. I changed out of them and went down to the laundry room. I was going to stuff them in the bottom of the laundry basket, and she was there, like this terrible magic. “‘What are you doing? You have to get ready for bed.’ I froze. I couldn’t even bend my knees. And she saw. She didn’t say anything. Nothing. She just looked at the stain. And then she left. She never said anything. I couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to go down for breakfast. I wanted until the last possible minute, hoping she wouldn’t be there. But she was. And still, she said nothing. And I went to school. She wasn’t the same with me after that. Or maybe it was me. She didn’t kiss me goodnight.” He stood up abruptly, looking like he needed to get sober. “Anyone need a drink? I need a drink.”
My mother and I were never the best of companions. She had certain expectations of me which I never fulfilled, and I was demanding, stupid and selfish. In short, she wasn’t the best at mothering and neither was I at being mothered. This said, I always had great respect for her sharp mind and nature, both of which she has now lost.
She has devolved into an acquiescent woman with little to say because she can’t remember much of anything beyond the weather and my name. And as difficult as the process is, it’s not like I can’t cope; it’s just that I dislike watching the installments.She didn’t want to die like this; she was most emphatic about that. But that’s what happens when you beat cancer twice. The worst things get you in the end.