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BEAU IS AFRAID

"A Freudian Tale of Hopeless, Obscene Misery"

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What You Need To Know:

BEAU IS AFRAID is the latest movie from Writer/Director Ari Aster, best known for abhorrent psychological horror movies like HEREDITARY and MIDSOMMAR. Aster not only keeps pace with, but far surpasses his previous movies, in both horror and oddity. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, the story follows the chaotic, anxiety-ridden life of Beau, who fears his mean mother. Beau learns of the sudden death of his mother and embarks on a ridiculous psychological and physical journey to her home. Along the way, Beau comes face to face with his anxiety, often in disturbingly graphic or simply weird ways.

BEAU IS AFRAID relies on Freudian shock-and-awe. It’s loaded with excessive and perverse scenes of violence, sex, death, abuse, obscene language, explicit nudity, and suicide. With a bloated runtime of three hours, it’s a wonder how the creator’s pretentious venture is mostly devoid of any redeeming qualities. One series of scenes does address generational trauma in a unique way, with beautiful art-design. However, it’s the only respite from the title character’s story of hopeless misery. BEAU IS AFRAID is excessively immoral, gross and abhorrent.

Content:

(HH, C, LLL, VVV, AA, NNN, SSS, AA, DD, MMM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
It is difficult to pin-down a singular or coherent worldview amidst the never-ending oddity, but there are clear connections being drawn from humanist psychologist Sigmund Freud’s writings, though there is a sign about Jesus knowing our worst sins, a family prays before a meal, and a character dresses as an angel for a play, but the main story is devoid of any redeeming qualities and depicts hopeless, obscene misery

Foul Language:
At least 37 obscenities (including at least 25 “f” words), 20 profanities and other crude language, plus some scatological content

Violence:
Gory and disturbing violence throughout, and, while much of the violence is meant to be comical, it’s still graphic and intense, including a man commits suicide, a naked man stabs several people to death in broad daylight, the man stabs Beau once in the side and repeatedly in the hand, a phallic-shaped monster stabs a man through the head (shown in graphic detail), several characters are blown up and shot, rotting and dead bodies are shown, a man is violently hit by a car, a teenage girl commits suicide by drinking from a gallon of paint

Sex:
One characteristic of the movie is that Beau’s father died after consummating his marriage, Beau believes he has the same disease and for most the movie it is his grappling with his inability to have sexual relations, but toward the end of the movie fornicates with his childhood sweetheart despite the risk of him dying, and instead she dies on top of him in a graphic, disturbing way

Nudity:
Full frontal male and female nudity, full frontal nudity when a naked man chases another naked character through the street and tries to stab him, full upper female nudity shown during sex scene, and there’s a monster that’s shaped like male genitalia

Alcohol Use:
Characters drink alcohol at dinner, a woman mentions that she is “drowning” her sorrows in wine

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
A person smokes tobacco, a teenage girl gets Beau high, and he hallucinates, and the same girl is shown taking many different types of pills;

Miscellaneous Immorality:
BEAU IS AFRAID, by the writer/director’s own admonition, is in a miscellaneous genre all by itself, where, regrettably, his artistic pretense paves the way for a hopeless, misery-filled tale about anxiety and trauma, and relies on excessive foul language, sex, violence, abuse, and more, ultimately saying little about the topics the creator’s exploring, plus people lie and there are obscene and gross graffiti images.

More Detail:

BEAU IS AFRAID is the latest abhorrent horror movie from Writer/Director Ari Aster (MIDSOMMAR, HEREDITARY). Unlike his previous movies, Aster said he wanted to explore comedy as well as psychological horror.

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, the movie follows a middle-aged man named Beau, who lives in a rundown apartment building on a lawless street full of violence, nudity, sex, trash, and other unsanitary activities.

The movie opens with Beau discussing his childhood with his therapists and the “conditional” love of his mother. Beau mentions that he’s returning to his mother’s house the next morning to celebrate the anniversary of his father’s death; the same day that Beau was conceived. Beau says the anxiety meds he’s taking aren’t working, so his therapist gives him a new type of pill.

On his walk home, Beau witnesses a broken world around him where a man commits suicide, and his body is left to rot in the streets. He makes a mad dash into his apartment building so the hostile beggars and tattooed, knife-wielding people can’t get into the building. Due to a rude neighbor, Beau misses his alarm to get up and go to the airport. In a rush, he ends up having his keys stolen from the door of his apartment.

Beau calls his mother, but she doesn’t seem sympathetic to his situation. Soon after, he receives a call that his mother has died, and that they cannot conduct a burial service until her only son is present. Beau’s anxiety goes through the roof as he comes up with a plan to get to his mother. Whether a depiction of the anxiety in his own head or reality, Beau embarks on an adventure of hilarity, misery and hopelessness in one last effort to see his mother.

Despite the movie’s 3-hour runtime, there are no redeeming moments in BEAU IS AFRAID. Writer/Director Ari Aster manages to show Beau’s misery, pessimism, trauma and hopelessness without a moment of respite for the audience or any of the characters on screen, which may be impressive, yet not commendable.

Aster relies on the excessive, graphic and shocking violence of his first two movies with an addition of heavy Freudian influences. A major plot point is that Beau’s father died at the moment of his son’s conception. Beau fears he has the same disease and lives in conflict with this throughout the movie due to what his mother has told him about his family line.

While the story does venture to explore generational trauma, it does so in a grotesque, drawn-out, irredeemable way. BEAU IS AFRAID is a movie that sacrifices the good, the true and beautiful at the altar of immorality and ugliness.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.