Man standing in a field

In "Beau is Afraid," Ari Aster's third film, we're taken on a surreal and chaotic journey with Joaquin Phoenix as Beau, a neurotic man tormented by inherited mental illness. It's a cinematic experience unlike any other. With a budget of $35 million, A24 has given Aster carte blanche to create a unique and unsettling movie that runs for three hours. But trust me; this is a movie you cannot miss. Ari Aster says, "Beau is Afraid" is like "if you pumped a 10-year-old full of Zoloft and had him get your groceries." Just remember, you've been warned.

"Beau is Afraid" takes us on a wild journey through the mind of a man plagued by anxiety and fear. Set in a crime-ridden city, Beau prepares to visit his mother, Mona (Patti LuPone), for his father's death anniversary. Unfortunately, a series of mishaps, including stolen keys, luggage, and a missed flight, leads to a desperate and frantic Beau plunging into a hallucinatory and chaotic journey after taking an experimental drug prescribed by his therapist. On the morning he's scheduled to get on a flight, he hears that his mother was killed in a freak accident; a chandelier fell on her and decapitated her head. In disarray, Beau races against time to attend his mother's sudden funeral. Along the way, he is plagued by nightmarish visions and struggles to distinguish reality from horrifying hallucinations.

I swear "Beau is Afraid" is a film unlike any other, and it's impossible to walk away from it without having your own interpretation. At the end of the day, the one thing that I can really grasp from this movie is that Ari Aster is trying to show us what it's like to have extreme anxiety and what it does to you and the people around you. We're shown this through a fantastical lens that is not part of our reality. Beau's heightened version of reality is dialed up to 11, with his worst fears playing out constantly in his mind.

A scene near the end of the movie defies logical explanation, and yet it's also genuinely funny. I laughed a bunch, and I believe I was laughing in all the right spots that Aster intended. The film also has its share of scary moments, with excellent prosthetics and props heightening the horror.

As a viewer, you'll feel uncomfortable, laugh, angry at certain choices, and lost; but always entertained. The unique architecture in the film reflects Beau's psyche, serving as a reflection of his fragmented mental state. Each aspect contains intricate details within.

The film is a rollercoaster of emotions. Joaquin Phoenix does exactly what he's asked as the tormented Beau, showcasing a wide range of emotions, from terror to confusion. His physicality and commitment to the role are truly impressive, allowing us to become fully immersed in Beau's surreal world. Phoenix easily navigates the highs and lows of Beau's circumstances, showcasing his character's constant struggle between reality and hallucination. As we delve deeper into Beau's psyche, the film presents us with disturbing and often hilarious scenarios, forcing us to question the nature of reality.

The film's sound design and score are equally mesmerizing, with hypnotic soundscapes blending seamlessly with the movie's themes. The ambient music enhances the atmosphere, creating a sense of unease.

Ari Aster's "Beau is Afraid" is not a film for those who prefer classical Hollywood style, a three-act structure, or the hero's journey with a clear-cut ending. That doesn't exist here, not in the slightest.

Though the unconventional pacing and unique approach to storytelling may be challenging to follow, "Beau is Afraid" is a film that demands to be seen. It's a cinematic fever dream that invites us to explore the depths of anxiety and fear. With a captivating performance from Joaquin Phoenix and a bold, inventive vision from Ari Aster

Just remember, there will never be another film quite like it – and that alone makes it worth experiencing.