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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Beau Is Afraid’ review: What the f—k did I just watch?

“Beau Is Afraid” captivates with its sexual premise and Joaquin Phoenix’s superb performance

<p>Director Ari Aster (pictured above) is known for his prior films, “Midsommar” and “Hereditary.”&nbsp;</p>

Director Ari Aster (pictured above) is known for his prior films, “Midsommar” and “Hereditary.” 

To put it bluntly, “Beau is Afraid” is a spectacle. 

Much like director Ari Aster’s other films, “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” this movie will cause the viewer an intense discomfort. 

The film follows a middle-aged Beau Wasserman on his anxiety-inducing journey to reunite with his mother after six months apart. Throughout its runtime, the film slowly dishes out more and more about Beau’s toxic relationship with his mother and how it affects him sexually. We see flashbacks of his childhood trauma, symbolism through sexual graffiti and trippy visuals.

His overbearing mother instilled him with insecurity as a child and haunts his dreams as an adult. Throughout his excruciatingly painful journey, Beau ironically wants to ensure that he’s promised one thing: his safety. 

Beau takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster filled with anxiety, guilt and panic. The viewer experiences the entire film as one long panic attack, just like Beau..

While Joaquin Phoenix delivers an anxiously tense performance and Aster’s directing is eye-catching, this movie is exceptionally difficult to follow. The film requires the viewer’s full attention: Look at your phone for a second, and you’ll be lost in a mess of unchronological scenes. 

The film’s striking originality could make it the start of a new genre.  But its three-hour runtime makes parts of the movie feel like a slog, especially toward the end. The third act just doesn’t deliver on what the first and second act had built. 

Filling the shoes of popular horror films such as “Hereditary” and “Midsommar” was not an easy feat. While the film’s lengthy runtime certainly did it no favors, Aster continues to solidify himself as this generation’s horror icon with “Beau Is Afraid.”

Dylan Greco is the opinion editor and can be reached at



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