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The Beaver

A movie directed by Jodie Foster

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Self-Help Taken To The Extreme....A "Beaver" Depression Treatment!!

  • May 8, 2011
Rating:
+4
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, @). It is with this mindset that I went to see her third directorial assignment with “The Beaver”. Foster stars along with Mel Gibson to bring screenwriter Kyle Killen’s short story to life. It is hard to make out what “The Beaver” is at first impression; when I saw the trailers I thought it was a bizarre comedy-drama that I just knew I had to see. The film was delayed with its nationwide release date in light of the controversy between Gibson and his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is the CEO of a toy company called “Jerry Co” and is married to Meredith (Jodie Foster) with two kids, Porter and Henry (Anton Yelchin and Riley Thomas Stewart respectively). Walter is also severely depressed man who had gone to all the treatments and therapy all to no avail. One evening, while Walter was on the verge of committing suicide, he comes up with a scheme that may allow him to communicate better; and this is to talk through a hand puppet that calls itself “The Beaver”. Things seemingly begin to get better as his company begins to pick up once more and Meredith and Henry become supportive of this unorthodox psychiatric treatment. But his son Porter proves as defiant as ever….

                              Jodie Foster as Meredith Black and Mel Gibson as Walter Black in ``The Beaver.''

                             Riley Thomas Stewart and Mel Gibson in "The Beaver."

Remember that feeling you get when you try to swallow your breath? That feeling of ‘holding back’ what is really in your mind for the sake of keeping the peace? That feeling that you get when you bottle things up? Don’t you sometimes feel that you don’t deserve any of what you have? Well, this film goes into those thoughts and while it may go into them in a rather bizarre way, I thought “The Beaver” was somewhat successful in communicating what it wanted to. I remember an artist saying that being blunt and honest is a virtue, and while I cannot agree with this 100 %, I do see why someone would say such a thing. Keeping things to yourself and your thoughts of doubt can certainly push you to the point of depression; those thoughts may not necessarily be correct but sometimes one needs to cut loose to express himself.

This is where “The Beaver” comes in as an equivalence, director Jodie Foster comes out with a weird blend of drama and comedy to get this point across. The film is sometimes funny as it is just somewhat over-the-top with the way Gibson seems to portray the Walter Black character. There is a grim tone and mood to all its comedy, and in some ways, while things look good, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the film was also a little disturbing. Walter is a character who is in dire need for help, and failing everything he has tried, he made a self-help persona in the form of a puppet. This was an expression of how you can separate the good and the bad in yourself; Foster plays with the premise in an ambitious manner although truth be told many parts of the script lacked a certain credibility and honestly, it wasn’t too grounded in reality.

                           Jodie Foster as Meredith Black, Riley Thomas Stewart as Henry Black and Anton Yelchin as Porter Black in ``The Beaver.''

                           A scene from "The Beaver."

                           Jennifer Lawrence and Anton Yelchin in "The Beaver."

I suppose one needs to suspend disbelief to buy into the film. Myself, I took the premise as sort of a “allegorical/figurative fantasy” where something is expressed in a manner that is totally different. It is easy to buy into its premise though, as Mel Gibson was very convincing as the main character. Like him or not because of the controversies that surrounded his personal life, the man can act. He effortlessly goes from the Walter character and the “beaver” persona who has quite an amusing Australian accent. If you also look into his eyes, you see tons of emotion that is set to explode; I had no qualms believing that Walter was sick, and there were some moments that I felt that Gibson may have ‘bottled up’ a few other things himself the way he channeled his portrayal.

Most of the film is set in his relationship with his family. Jodie Foster may still be a better actress than director (hey, give her a chance) as she does come out with a performance that can arguably match Gibson’s. Porter is the one other thing that allows the film to have some breathing room; this is a son who fears that he may be becoming his father, and goes through lengths to avoid this from happening. Yelchin’s performance may be a little uneven, but I did like the way the subplot with him and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) was developed by the direction. I liked the way the ‘beaver’ played a part in the Henry-Walter relationship, as it expressed the bond of a father and a young son, at its purest sense.

Not really sure how I feel about “The Beaver”. I liked it but I have to say that some scenes should’ve been better if they were a little more polished and I do have to say, some parts of the script were a little too much and overplayed some elements that it seemed to lose its footing. Thankfully, Mel Gibson had the necessary skill to pull it off, despite some areas that were too outlandish and a bit too hard to believe. To like “The Beaver”, I guess it may be necessary to fill in some blanks, and I have to admit I felt the climax was a little unsatisfactory. It does have a message of being able to help yourself; and that most of the time, acceptance of what you are is the biggest step to recovery. “The Beaver” is a decent film that earns a light recommendation for its boldness and ambition; I thought Foster did a good job as director.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "The Beaver"  Jodie Foster as Meredith Black in "The Beaver."



 
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February 26, 2012
Excellent review and pictures too!
 
May 11, 2011
FYI: THE BEAVER is not Foster's directorial debut. That was LITTLE MAN TATE, and she's also directed HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. This was her third film.
May 11, 2011
thanks for that info. I also checked my previous source on her resume for that info (wikipedia) and seems like someone had edited it. I should've gone to imdb.com instead, and I dunno where my mind is at. Thanks!
May 11, 2011
btw, I SAW THE DEVIL is pretty awesome. I am preppng my review for it....
May 11, 2011
Yeah, I'm gonna try and pick up a rental of I SAW THE DEVIL today or on Friday (if it isn't in today). My wife's out of town this weekend, so I should have some time to watch it. Looking forward to it!
May 11, 2011
It was real good, I should've written the review last night but I had to wait till everything settles in. Choi Min-Sik was just great in it as well as Lee Byung-Hun! Oh, check out my first paragraph here now, I credited you for the correction...
May 15, 2011
Ed, please let me know when you manage to post a review on I Saw The Devil...I've included the topic link  to make things much easier for you to find.
 
May 11, 2011
Excellent review WP.
May 12, 2011
Thanks, Alex....
 
May 10, 2011
Two has-been actors (one who went crazy and the other who just does mediocre movies - guess which is which... LOL!) and a beaver puppet. Not sure whether this is for me or not. The plot sounds very similar to "Lars and the Real Girl", but I am curious about this just the same. Does the beaver eat Mel Gibson and call him a drunken, mentally unstable, sexist, antisemitic washed-up actor? That'd make me see it. : )
May 10, 2011
LOL! I knew you would come out with a fun comment. The Beaver calls the Walter character as a loser, and who doesn't deserve what he has. So does that help? LOL!
 
May 09, 2011
Two of my most favorite actors? Definitely a must-see! :) Great writing, Woo! You certainly shine in this one ;-)
May 09, 2011
I guess the good food got me in a good writing mood. :) Thanks, Sharrie!!
 
May 08, 2011
Nice review, William. I'm interested in this one, but I'm not sure when I will tackle it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it!
May 08, 2011
Thanks, Adri!! This was intriguing when I saw the trailers. I would be really eager to read your review on it, good or bad... :)
May 08, 2011
Haven't watched a film in a LONG time. Not sure when/if I will get to this one. We seem to be on a TV kick as of late.
May 08, 2011
cool. more "Reality Shows" or a series?
May 09, 2011
Been watching "America's Next Great Restaurant" and the first season of 24. Now, we're watching "Mr. Sunshine" and "The Drew Carey Show."
May 09, 2011
ohh....are you going to review 24? I used to watch that show religiously until the last two seasons. whoa. I want to read it!! You might want to check out @'s and @ as well. We all presented a different views on the film
May 10, 2011
I don't know. I really didn't like how the first season ended. It really depressed me. Send me their reviews via email, and I will read them when I have time. I would love to read the different perspectives.
May 10, 2011
My fave season is season three. Oh, just scroll down, and you will see....
May 10, 2011
We just started season 2.

I wasn't planning on reading them now. I was thinking later, hence wanting the links for future reference. :-P I'll try to remember later on to come back and read them. :)
May 10, 2011
Oh ok, I see your point. Will send the links....
May 10, 2011
Don't have to if you don't want to. I'm being lazy, lol. I could copy them down now...but I'm distracted...I'll try to remember to stop back here when I'm done with work to read the reviews. :)
May 11, 2011
remember you are talking to me the lazy guy LOL!

Clipart Illustration Of A Lazy White Man In A Tank Top And Boxers, Reclined In A Green Lazy Chair, Sleeping And Holding A Lit Cigarette Down Near A Book On The Floor
May 18, 2011
I would never call you lazy. You are quite a hard worker, especially when it comes to your review output and all the reads you put in for others.
May 18, 2011
Thanks! I just like having fun with y'all. I think I have slowed down quite a bit though. Remember when I used to post more since Frank, Nick, Chris, Karen and Brian were all active? I was a lot more motivated...
May 18, 2011
Btw, how was that interview J needed your help with?
May 18, 2011
And we like having fun with you, William. Yes, I remember those times. I still say you are extremely motivated. :) And, Jason has his interview in 1 hour and 30 mins.
 
May 08, 2011
Will: Fantastic review buddy. Your range of taste is nothing shy of amazing. I hadn't heard much about this one before now but I found your words quite interesting. I'm noticing BlackSheep was less impressed but hey, the day there's a film that impresses everyone equally will surely be a sign of apocalypse! I was amazed at the talent involved in this project, clearly this is a work that was created out of passion for film making. I'll likely wait for it to arrive to Netflix but thanks to your thorough critique, will definitely give it a go. Thanks buddy!
May 08, 2011
Thanks for the read, Jay. Comments like yours keep me going. I also liked BlackSheep's review a lot and despite our different ratings, we both agree that it was well-acted. Give it a shot, I liked it, but then again, as you've said before, I have weird taste. LOL!!
 
May 08, 2011
Good to know that this interesting looking movie isn't going to be slammed by everyone soley cause of Mel's presence which is what I'm afraid of. The Beaver has an Austaralian voice? Must be the real Mel showing through. Good to know that this is out, I may have to see it.
May 08, 2011
I know what you mean, John. I had a feeling this was why this was released on a limited number of theaters. But hey, the only time I would not watch a movie is when I know a director/actor had done something truly disturbing. Like him or not, Gibson can act and he did do the Beaver voice. People don't take anything away from Polanski and he may have done worst things. Btw, I'll give a holler once I drop a review on something I know you'll like...I just know you'll be interested with the movie I saw yesterday...
May 10, 2011
Ok, John....you do like Olga Kurylenko as I remember right?
May 10, 2011
Well shes foxy and has the same birthday as I do, sure why not?
May 10, 2011
you should check out "The Assassin Next Door" via netflix... LOL!! I liked it, a different Olga! :)
May 10, 2011
interesting. Maybe when I get back from vacation.
May 10, 2011
Yeah, she plays a rough, edgy role and she hardly wears make up....different!
 
1
More The Beaver reviews
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 …
review by . May 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Damned.
THE BEAVER   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 …
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 …
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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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Genre: Comedy, Drama
Release Date: 20 May 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Kyle Killen
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