Director Ari Aster, known for his previous horror classics “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” takes audiences on a three-hour journey through anxiety in his latest film, “Beau is Afraid.” Starring Joaquin Phoenix as the mentally-unwell Beau, the movie delves into the struggles faced by individuals dealing with mental health issues, reflecting a broader societal crisis. Despite its unconventional and chaotic nature, the film offers a unique perspective on the subject matter, creating tension and anxiety through Aster’s masterful direction.
An Absurd Blend of Horror and Absurdity
Aster’s background in horror seamlessly merges with the absurdity present throughout “Beau is Afraid.” While the film can be jarring for some, the absurd sequences provide a necessary balance to the overall stress and tension, albeit leaving some viewers uncertain about whether to laugh or not. Phoenix delivers a captivating performance, navigating panic and guilt with Aster’s direction enhancing the intensity in various insane scenarios Beau finds himself in.
A Visual Feast: The Forest Play Sequence
One of the standout aspects of “Beau is Afraid” is the visually stunning animated play in the forest. The vibrant colors and meticulous set design create a mesmerizing experience, making it the most visually captivating sequence in the movie. This addition not only adds to the film’s visual appeal but also provides a different perspective on the narrative, enhancing its overall impact.
A Divisive and Confusing Plot
The plot of “Beau is Afraid” is a continuous string of mishaps that escalate into increasingly bizarre and memorable moments. While this approach might polarize audiences, with some finding confusion during and after their first viewing, it offers a unique and unconventional storytelling experience. However, the film’s length becomes a challenge, as certain segments overstay their welcome, leaving viewers eager for a more concise conclusion.
A Societal Statement and Lasting Impact
“Beau is Afraid” aims to make a societal statement, shedding light on the mental health crisis in the United States. It tackles the themes of societal pressure, the struggle for validation, and the impact of neglecting cries for help. Aster’s film sparks discussions and reflections on these issues, provoking a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those dealing with mental health conditions. While the film’s length and pacing may be a drawback for some, its message and impact earn it a noteworthy rating.
Ari Aster’s “Beau is Afraid” is an ambitious and thought-provoking film that immerses viewers in a world of anxiety and mental health struggles. Through its blend of horror, absurdity, and visually captivating sequences, the film offers a unique perspective on these issues. While the plot may be divisive and the length of the film a drawback, its societal statement and lasting impact make it a noteworthy addition to Aster’s filmography.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Ari Aster and what are his previous works?Ari Aster is an American filmmaker and director known for his work in the horror genre. He gained recognition for his films “Hereditary” (2018) and “Midsommar” (2019), both of which received critical acclaim for their unsettling and atmospheric storytelling.
Who is Joaquin Phoenix and what other notable roles has he played?Joaquin Phoenix is an American actor known for his versatile performances. He has portrayed iconic roles in films such as “Walk the Line” (2005), where he portrayed musician Johnny Cash, and “Joker” (2019), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor. Phoenix is recognized for his commitment to intense and transformative performances.
What is the plot of the film “Beau is Afraid”?“Beau is Afraid” is a film directed by Ari Aster, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the mentally-unwell character Beau. The movie revolves around Beau’s struggles with anxiety and the pressure to meet societal expectations. It offers a unique perspective on the mental health crisis in the United States through a series of chaotic and bizarre sequences.
What are some other three-hour films mentioned in the review?The review mentions three other three-hour films, namely “RRR,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and “Babylon.” “RRR” is a Telugu-language action film directed by S.S. Rajamouli, while “Avatar: The Way of Water” is the upcoming sequel to James Cameron’s “Avatar.” “Babylon” is a period drama directed by Damien Chazelle. These films have gained attention for their ambitious storytelling and lengthy runtimes.