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The Beaver

A movie directed by Jodie Foster

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  • May 8, 2011
Written By Kyle Killen
Directed by Jodie Foster
Starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence
The Beaver: Everybody needs a friend, Walter, and you’ve got me.
Who does depression hurt? Everybody. Ordinarily, this would mean to include everyone directly involved with a person suffering from depression but thanks to Jodie Foster, now depression can also hurt everyone who comes to see her latest directorial effort, THE BEAVER, as well. While I’m sure she was well intentioned, Foster’s eager beaver preoccupation with rehabilitating the image of her maligned co-star, Mel Gibson, must have distracted her from seeing that the film’s lack of focus was ultimately gnawing away at its own foundation the whole time.
It is no secret that THE BEAVER is meant to be a prestige picture designed to remind the filmgoing public that they once loved Gibson for his talent and charisma, both of which have returned fully to form in THE BEAVER. While Gibson may successfully handle the material, this does not mean the material itself is doing him any good. Gibson is Walter Black, a family man with a successful career who just can’t seem to be happy. He is hopelessly depressed, as we are reminded frequently at the film’s onset, and he has tried every therapy known to man to fix himself save for one. Up until now, he has never considered giving into his depression and just allowing it to take over his life. Enter the beaver.
After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Walter snaps and begins living through the beaver, a puppet that has seen better days but that now rests comfortably on Walter’s left hand and speaks in a delightfully chipper Australian accent. Apparently, the inherently playful nature of the beaver makes it possible for Walter to instantaneously shelf his bigger issues and function successfully again in society, despite society’s discomfort with his unorthodox manner of expression. Gibson goes back and forth between his two personas with impressive ease, finding himself in some rather uncomfortable predicaments. Still, the tone of the film gets confused – is this psychotic lapse meant to be jovial? The underlying quirkiness borders on offensive at times, as it undermines the seriousness of the situation at hand.
The beaver places a convenient wall between Walter and all he encounters, protecting him from hurt and pain. Foster’s oversimplification of the subject matter takes that same wall and puts it up between THE BEAVER itself and it’s audience. We are never allowed in to the movie, which makes some sense considering all the characters have their own metaphoric beavers to protect themselves as well. The insinuation though that if we would just let down our guards and allow people in, no matter how difficult that may be, is almost insulting to those of us who still walk the world alone. The fact that the advice comes from a puppet is what ultimately damns the whole thing.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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May 11, 2011
Great review
May 20, 2011
Thanks! Note to readers: Do not see movies about depressed people when you are already feeling depressed. Especially if they suck
May 08, 2011
Excellent breakdown. I may see this later today (not sure now), and your review gave me what to expect. Sounds like an interesting concept with an execution that is lacking and Gibson's performance may be the film's one saving grace. Seems like this film has an outlandish idea, sometimes I need to see something just out of curiousity...
May 18, 2011
I agree. Excellent breakdown of the film.
May 20, 2011
Foster's direction is the problem here. She did not understand the material and it showed. There were complex moments that played out as awkward or trivial when there could have been some real insight if it were done differently. Come to think of it, her performance was pretty crap too. Thanks you guys.
More The Beaver reviews
review by . May 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I am
I always support almost any actor/actress who is going for a new position in filmmaking by watching their movies. Actors such as Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven), Mel Gibson (Braveheart) and Jon Favreau (Iron Man) have had their successes when the transition from performer to the one behind the camera came and now, it may be time for Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs) to shine as director (corrected: her first project was Little Man Tate. Thanks, @Trekscribbler). It is with this mindset that …
review by . September 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     The Jodie Foster-directed drama "The Beaver" misses success because of its subject matter. You probably know what the film is about; a depressed father (Mel Gibson) finds a puppet beaver in a dumpster and develops a sort of alternate ego whenever his hand is inserted in the stuffed mammal's asshole. The beaver speaks in a British accent; and is smarter, more emotionally capable than Gibson's character ever was. This opens new doors for the character, although …
Quick Tip by . September 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
What can I say? I'm a big fan of both Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. I'd probably watched any movie by them as long as it's not perverted! The Beaver is a light movie about a heavy subject matter. I think as a movie goer (although I actually watched it downloaded through an app) we, at least I, won't choose any depressive material as subject matter. Hence, a movie about a depressed man could hardly be attractive enough to go to the cinema for, even if it stars both Gibson & Foster. It may just be …
review by . May 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The great tragedy of The Beaver is that it cannot be taken seriously. It employs a first-rate cast and the performances are excellent, but the premise is such that (1) not even suspension of disbelief can work you through it, and (2) even if it could, the film doesn’t send an especially worthwhile message. I’m well aware that depression is real and that there are numerous ways to cope with it, but I don’t believe that the particular …
review by . April 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'The Beaver' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Feels For This Furry Puppet (Video)
'The Beaver' stars Mel Gibson as Walter Black/The Beaver.  The movie is directed by Jodie Foster who plays Walter's long suffering wife Meredith.       Walter, a once successful toy executive and family man suffers from major depression.  No matter what he tries...(pills, therapy, exercise, flagellating himself) Walter cannot shake the feeling that life is meaningness and all is hopeless.  This dude is really in the dumps.   …
review by . August 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   The life of the troubled husband Walter Black proves that Jodie Foster could do much more as a director than anyone could think. She has the eye and the spirit for the job if she managed to turn a movie with a puppet into probably the best original drama of this year.      Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is a depressed man who surrounded by monotony, daily routine, empty weekends, work issues and family disaster tries to find a way out of his pathetic and sad life, a life …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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About this movie



Genre: Comedy, Drama
Release Date: 20 May 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Kyle Killen
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