3 Big Things on ‘Beau is Afraid’ — A SPOILER-FREE Review (PLUS a New Podcast!)
Whoa, what? What was that? What did I just experience? All of these are questions that probably anyone and everyone uttered to themselves after walking out of ‘Beau is Afraid’ this weekend. I can’t recall seeing a movie that simply goes for it the way that this one does. Ari Aster’s follow-up to 2019’s ‘Midsommar’ is the filmmaker’s “f**k you I won’t do what you tell me” film. He does what he wants, when he wants, for however long he wants with this one. Not necessarily a formula for mainstream acceptance, but certainly fun if you love Aster’s previous films like me.
So if you’re on the fence about whether or not you should see ‘Beau is Afraid’ here are 3 Big Things to consider:
1. I couldn’t think of anyone in my life that I’d recommend this one to.
I’ll admit, it’s a loaded statement. Personally, I really enjoyed this one but, ‘Beau is Afraid’ isn’t a movie that you’re going enjoy if you aren’t familiar with Ari Aster and/or don’t care for big-swings. This movie is really made for Ari Aster’s pleasure and those of us who love his films. It’s a surreal fever-dream that never takes its foot off the gas. When I imagine myself sitting down to watch this one with my wife, or even the other CineBoiz, I see them reacting with “why did you make me watch this?”
‘Beau is Afraid’ is a feelings movie, not a thinking movie. You have to simply let go and surrender to the madness. Most people just aren’t looking for that kind of an experience when they go to the theater. Not only this, but ‘Beau is Afraid’ clocks in at nearly three hours…I can see this being pure torture for people who aren’t really vibing with the subject matter of this film.
2. It’s one of my favorite Nathan Lane roles ever
Nathan Lane is a treasure. To see him in a movie like this is such an unexpected treat. Although it’s just a supporting role, the moments where he is on screen were some of my favorite. Lane plays the surgeon husband to Amy Ryan’s Grace, who after hitting Joaquin Phoenix’s Beau with a car, takes him into their home to care for him for a few days. Sure the premise sounds simple, but it’s truly way more absurd than it seems; and in this absurdity, Nathan Lane shines brightly.
Not only is Nathan Lane special, but nearly everyone in this cast drank the Kool-Aid and went all out. Joaquin Phoenix had me thinking at points that he really is the character he plays. I’m hoping for more Aster/Phoenix collaborations in the future…I think they’re made for one another.
3. I can’t put my finger on it, but this one’s special
I spent probably the first forty minutes of ‘Beau is Afraid’ trying to use logic and reason to dissect it. It wasn’t until I realized that logic and reason have no place in this film, and it’s better to just let it flow. That isn’t to say it doesn’t have a story-arc, but that arc doesn’t fit into the standard category of most films. I realized well into its 3-hour runtime that I wanted it to keep going and going to see how out-there it could get. This isn’t typical for someone with a short attention span such as myself.
So I’m gonna be selfish with this rating…everyone else’s feelings be damned! I’ll take the craziness of ‘Beau is Afraid’ simply because I felt immersed into whatever the hell it was trying to do. Most filmmakers aren’t going to get a pass from me like this, but most filmmakers aren’t Ari Aster. So here we go, come at me all you h8erz:
4/5 Swedish Fish
So what do you think? Be sure to holler at us on Twitter (@korkedbats; @thecineboiz) and Instagram (@korkedbats; @thecineboiz)
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Check out the new 3 BIG THINGS PODCAST (A CineBoiz Joint). It’s essentially like our reviews, but in podcast form! This week I sat down with Billy Rock to discuss ‘Beau is Afraid’. WARNING: LIGHT SPOILERS