Beau is Afraid: release date, cast, trailer and everything we know

Beau is Afraid star Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix stars in Ari Aster's new movie. (Image credit: A24)

Beau is Afraid is the anticipated new movie from director Ari Aster, best known for his work on the creepy psychological horrors Hereditary and Midsommar, and so far we don't know a lot about it!

It was originally called Disappointment Boulevard and was later retitled Beau is Afraid, where we'll follow Joaquin Phoenix's titular character "on an epic odyssey" to get home to his mother.

The movie will mark Ari Aster's third collaboration with A24 and if his previous work is anything to go by, audiences will likely be thrilled and disturbed by his latest offering, which heavily implies Beau is paranoid and something is going on. But what?

Speaking about Joaquin Phoenix working alongside Ari Aster, co-star Stephen McKinley Henderson told The Hollywood Reporter: "Joaquin and Ari were so simpatico, and they worked together for the whole film. I came in pretty close to the end of the shoot and so they had been working a while. And their way of working together was like they were really old friends. 

"They could get upset and makeup in the span of seconds, it seemed. But the work was always the better for it."

Here's what we know so far...

Beau is Afraid release date

Beau is Afraid is arriving in cinemas in the US on April 21, 2023, after a slight delay from its anticipated 2022 release. So far, we're not sure when it'll arrive in the UK but we'll keep you updated.

Beau is Afraid plot

Joaquin Phoenix in Beau is Afraid

(Image credit: A24)

Unlike some of our guides, it's quite hard to summarise the plot of Ari Aster's latest film because it's quite mind-bending! So far, we know that it is a surrealist comedy horror film that follows Joaquin Phoenix's Beau character.

We also know that Beau is an "extremely anxious but pleasant-looking man" who has a fraught relationship with his overbearing mother and never knew his father, so there are definitely some complexities there. 

When his mother dies, Beau makes a journey home that involves some wild supernatural threats, and Ari Aster has kept the whole thing mysterious to keep us intrigued. So we'll just have to wait and see what happens...

Beau is Afraid cast

Beau is Afraid stars Armen Nahapetian and Zoe Lister-Jones

Beau is Afraid focuses primarily on Beau and his mother. (Image credit: A24)

Joker star Joaquin Phoenix plays the lead role of Beau, while Armen Nahapetian plays the young version of his character. He's joined by Driving Miss Daisy's Patti LuPone who plays Beau's mother Loretta, with Zoe Lister-Jones as a young version of her.

Meanwhile, Dune actor Stephen McKinley Henderson stars as Beau’s therapist, and Parker Posey plays Elaine, Beau’s childhood love. Other actors in undisclosed roles are Nathan Lane as Roger, Amy Ryan as Grace, and Kylie Rogers as Toni.

Is there a trailer?

Yes, and it might be one of the strangest things you've seen in a long time! The intriguing trailer opens with Beau's mother saying: "I am so sorry for what your daddy passed down to you, but I wanted a child, the greatest gift of my life."

Right now, it's unclear what she's referring to but it's clear Beau is a troubled character and the trailer follows him in a number of locations, some more abstract than others.

Take a look below...

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.


She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress