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The Beaver (2011) - Plot Summary Poster

(2011)

Plot

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Summaries

  • A troubled husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communication.

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  • Walter Black ('Mel Gibson') is depressed and sleeps most of the day. It's driving his family crazy, and his wife Meredith (Jodie Foster) kicks him out. Walter starts carrying a beaver puppet and tries to commit suicide (unsuccessfully). He uses the puppet to talk to himself, trying to bolster his spirits, and is trying to rebuild his life. Through the beaver, the family begins to learn about Walter's history and problems, and as he continues rebuilding, the beaver shows us all a way to cope.

  • Walter Black was once outwardly successful in every aspect of the word. He inherited the CEO position of his now deceased father's toy company, Jerry Co. But largely because of his inability to manage the company, it which is near bankruptcy, he is now clinically depressed, which is manifesting itself primarily in wanting to sleep all the time. He has tried every therapy known, to no avail. He has even tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide. His depression is negatively affecting his family. His teen-aged son, Porter Black, is a bright boy who is able to parlay his ability to think like others into a successful money making venture of secretly writing school papers for his classmates. However, he is afraid that he will turn out like his father, his fear to the point of him trying consciously to wipe out any similarity he has with his father from his own being. Walter's adolescent son, Henry Black, is a loner, who gets picked on by others. As she feels she can't help him in any way, his engineer wife, Meredith Black, finally kicks him out of the house, much to Porter's joy. However, after finding it in a dumpster, Walter, ultimately with the support of his therapist, finds that he is able to express himself through the use of a beaver hand puppet, the beaver acting as a third person expression of himself. In doing so, he is able to function normally in all aspects, albeit with a beaver puppet on his hand talking for him at all times. In turn, most of the people in his life accept Walter's new beaver appendage, as it has in turn improved their lives with him. But Meredith soon wonders if Walter is indeed getting better, especially if he will ever be able to live without the beaver, and return to being the man she married. Porter too is having a difficult time accepting Walter in his new state. Porter's feelings are affected by his encounters with his latest client, Norah, the academically bright and popular soon-to-be valedictorian, who wants Porter to write her speech for her and who is more complex than Porter had imagined in seeing who he thought was the stereotypical smart, pretty girl with everything.

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Spoilers

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Synopsis

  • Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is depressed and sleeps most of the day. It's driving his family crazy, and his wife Merideth (Jodie Foster) kicks him out. Henry, the youngest son (Riley Thomas Stewart) is very shy, and son Porter (Anton Yelchin) is trying hard not to be like him. Porter is a talented writer, and makes money writing papers for other students.

    Walter starts carrying a beaver puppet and tries to commit suicide (unsuccessfully). He uses the puppet to talk to himself, trying to bolster his spirits. Soon he's using the beaver to talk to others, and is trying to rebuild his life. Meridith invites him to stay for dinner.

    Through the beaver, the family begins to learn about Walter's history and problems. Porter thinks he's insane. The beaver introduces himself to Walter's company, and sets a new direction for the company. Based on Henry's woodworking hobby, the beaver encourages the company to make woodworking kits, which sell well.

    Porter is approached by Norah (Jennifer Lawrence), the high school valedictorian, who needs him to write her graduation speech. While interviewing her, he begins to fall in love. She has a history of getting in trouble for graffiti. He asks her out, and they go on a date, but end up getting arrested while spray painting a wall. At the same time, Merideth and Walter go out (without the beaver), and conversation is stilted. Merideth tries to get Walter to remember their past, and he breaks down and brings out the beaver. They bail Porter out, but he is mortified.

    Refusing to accept the beaver, Merideth and the boys move out. The beaver goes on the Today Show and is interviewed by Matt Lauer. The beaver explains that reinventing yourself is a way to break out of the cycle of depression, and his family, watching on TV, begins to understand.

    The beaver becomes a worldwide phenomenon, but when Walter tries to reach out to Merideth, the beaver attacks him. In an effort to divorce from the beaver, Walter cuts off his hand. He is rushed to the hospital by Porter.

    Next scenes show the beaver woodkit losing popularity, Walter's VP (Cherry Jones) assuming control of the company, Walter being treated in hospital, and Porter getting in trouble for writing other people's papers.

    Porter now sleeps all the time, like his father, and Walter has an artificial hand. Norah gives him another chance, and they make up. She paints a mural for him, and he uses it for inspiration for her graduation speech. She departs from her speech and Porter realizes he needs to make up with his father.

    End.

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