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10 out of 10 for Gibson's bravery
laura_macleod5 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
OK, Mel Gibson used to be a very hot actor that everyone loved. Then he became famous and got caught in the trap of celebrity and fame. His aged face tells the story. The Beaver is not going to win any awards; not because it isn't a good movie - it is. However, with the history behind it of Gibson's rants and misdemeanors and the way he has offended the big boys of Hollywood; Gibson has no where to go anymore. But then he has great friends like Jodie Foster who believed in him and that is why The Beaver is a fascinating film - it tells the story of Mel Gibson and it is clothed in another tale that is probably highly unlikely in real life - BUT, it does explain why Gibson acted the way he did reading between the lines. The Beaver is the story of a man in a nervous breakdown, communicating to the world through a beaver hand puppet during his breakdown and then to the point of total collapse. In between this tale, is the effect on his family , his work and how the world sees him. The theme of the film is mental illness and Gibson does a fine fine job in acting - he really is a tremendous actor. What is really important here, is that Gibson bears his soul through the channel of the film script and I find that very admirable. It is his way of explaining himself and it is a humbling act. I have to admire Jodie Foster too because she is fearless. As the opening credits roll we see that the film has been financed by an Abu Dhabi film production company - how very obscure and not often seen in a Hollywood production. But of course, this is not a Hollywood production - this is a story beyond that - Hollywood is ruled by certain groups of people that Gibson offended - it takes brave people to tell their story against the odds.
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Watch it once ... then never again.
Glock_Boy30 September 2011
Give it to Mel Gibson. The man can act. He is one of the best and does not disappoint.

I rented this simply because I couldn't take the curiosity any longer. I had no idea what it was about.

Every performance here is solid and believable and deep.

The movie is about depression. So don't be surprised if you are left feeling ... depressed. I was. The movie concluded with an upbeat feel, but left me yearning for more.

This is one of those movies that, well, you watched it; you knew you had to - kind of like Schindler's List - then you put it away to never visit it again because you know the emotional pain that it delivers.
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Broken Man Facing His Demons Works for Gibson
lmelnick-999-26042418 March 2011
Although it's difficult to watch Mel Gibson now without the backdrop of alcoholism, abuse, bigotry, rants and disappointment, this role may actually be the perfect role for him to re-appear on the screen with sympathy and hope of redemption. He plays this role perfectly and the viewer is sucked into the emotion and distress of all characters dealing with their own challenges. It's a beautiful movie with a powerful message. Some have criticized Jodie Foster's directing, but I found the film to be very balanced with the right amount of comedy and tragedy. I loved the camera work and editing, especially with the Beaver as its own character. I also liked the secondary storyline about the teenagers. All the performances were very good. I think the entire movie is very well done, and although I have not changed my personal opinion of Mel Gibson at all, the movie does make you very sympathetic towards families dealing with crisis including his own, and as an actor, he pulls off a very difficult role.
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Mel may be flawed in life but the movie is a keeper
Jawsphobia6 May 2011
I'd give this movie a full ten if not for confusion over the "weighted average" system in which IMDb supposedly disregards a lot of extreme highs or lows. And speaking of highs and lows, who better than a bi-polar actor to not only accept a stigmafied role of someone with a mental disorder but also to get past that and offer the meat and potatoes of entertainment as well? Full disclosure: I am on Team Mel when it comes to an ex girlfriend making headlines with her personal life with reckless disregard for the personal and professional toll; an overkill gesture followed-up ultimately by withdrawal of charges. . .

I won't get into debates over context and word choices in someone's private conversations or during a fit of rage. But others like to, and perhaps for that reason I was only one of about 21 people in the late showing of The Beaver opening night at the Varsity in Toronto, cinema 8. Apparently the VIP cinema there had a screening that started 20 minutes earlier, but I don't know how that or earlier screenings were attended. I'm hoping the movie does better. Even with a small crowd, the audience I was in responded with laughter where appropriate, and the atmosphere was often charged with anxious energy.

Jodie Foster is very dear in her own performance, and her directing choices don't falter. Mel gives glimpses of his goofy persona and one can speculate about which bits of whimsy might have been his contributions, but he also lets us dislike the character a bit or the condition he suffers and the film goes to some dark places. Nobody in the theatre dared laugh at the point that is most drastic and also anxiety inducing. In someone else' hands this film could easily be a TV Movie of the Week.

The woman who played the Sheriff in Signs is again Mel's confidant in The Beaver for the half of the story involving his business. Anton Yelchin (the new Scotty in Star Trek) is impressively grounded even as he suffers through some of his father's inherited symptoms and those typical of teens anyway.

If you are poisoned against Mel, I'm not going to say go see it but I'll go out on a limb and suggest that one of the opening sequences where he is at his lowest ebb might be especially entertaining for people who hate him and there is a certain gallows humour that might allow you to relax your guard. The daring premise and loving execution of the film from everyone involved is a nice mix and the film deserves a better fate than it is likely to get with gossips fanning the flame of scandal.

"Everyone loves a train wreck, especially one they're not in." - The Beaver

I know people are clogging the box office lines for Thor this weekend, and I haven't heard anything negative about that movie but I'm glad I saw The Beaver and that I can honestly say it is more than just weird; it is actually also out on a limb and inspiring without feeling like a cheat. That's my two cents anyway.
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Mel nails the accent!
hendry-robert28 May 2011
It really sounds to me like Mel Gibson has modelled the voice and the accent for the puppet on Ray Winstone which shouldn't surprise me considering they have worked together in the past. However, top marks to Mel for that one because you really could be forgiven for thinking Ray did a voice-over for the puppet.

In general this is not the usual style of film I would watch but I really must say I was most pleasantly surprised at how engaging it was. For me at least, this was down to the Beaver (yes I realise how that sounds) but the remarkable thing is that I forgot it was a puppet controlled and voiced by Mel. I really began to see it as a complete separate character and it just gave the film whole other dimension.

Performances from Gibson and Foster were excellent (as you would expect). Their acting was totally spot on, never once seeming over the top or forced. Jodie Foster has done a sterling job on the directors chair skilfully taking the viewer on a journey in what I would have thought not a particularly easy film to direct. There are some humorous moments but this is not a comedy. You will occasionally laugh, and at times you will tense up during some of Gibsons darker moments. But that is a job well done from all.

This is certainly not a film for everyone but if you like a movie that's choc full to the brim with the human element, excellent acting and directing then I really would recommend it.
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Jodie Foster takes on depression and Mel Gibson in "The Beaver"
MovieManMenzel19 March 2011
"The Beaver" tells the story of Walter Black (Mel Gibson), a man who has lost his way in life and is dealing with an extreme case of depression. His wife Meredith (Jodie Foster) has told him to move out and his oldest son Porter (Anton Yelchin) hates him. Just when he is about to call it quits, Walter becomes friends with a hand puppet named The Beaver, who takes total control of Walter's life. With The Beaver constantly attached to Walter, he is able redeem himself at work and with his wife and youngest son. It isn't long though before living life through The Beaver catches up to Walter making his life even worse than ever before. It is now up to Walter to take back his life or to lose everything he has worked his entire life for and live it forever as The Beaver.

"The Beaver" is a really dark and depressing piece of cinema. As the film continues, you really saw how deep Walter's depression is and that he is in serious need of help. The man is living his life through a stuffed beaver! It's really an original and interesting take on depression, which has never been seen before. The subplot, which was focused around Anton Yelchin was also interesting and kind of played hand and hand as the same situation that Walter was dealing with.

Mel Gibson gives us an extremely powerful and dark performance in this film. This is something that you have never seen him do before and it's extremely scary to watch him portray this character. This is the most unique take on depression that I have currently seen and Gibson nails it. Jodie Foster is good as the dedicated wife and gives an emotional performance. You can tell that Meredith cares deeply for Walter and will stop at nothing to be with him. Anton Yelchin, gives the best performance of his career in this film. He is a kid who hates his father so much that he lives his life through others. He is so focused on hating his father that he doesn't realize he can't live his own life. That is until Jennifer Lawerence's character Norah comes along and helps him find himself. The acting in this film is just ravishing with everyone involved showcasing some of the best performances of their careers.

While I admired the film's creative and unique take on depression as well as everyone's acting, there were a few elements of the film that didn't sit well with me. The first being why the heck didn't anyone have Walter committed to a mental institute? About 30 minutes in, I couldn't suspend belief that an entire company would allow its CEO to run a company through a hand puppet. That just wasn't plausible. I also didn't get how Meredith didn't take more active role in helping Walter out. There is a scene where Meredith and Walter go to dinner and Meredith tells the Beaver that she wants Walter to come out. This scene is quite disturbing as it shows just how much the Beaver has taken control. At this point, however, why Meredith doesn't bring him to counseling is just unbelievable. He has obviously lost his mind at this point. I just didn't get it those two factors of the film. It's like everyone cared yet no one really took the time to guide him to the light so to speak.

Despite those minor hiccups, I really enjoyed the film. I liked that it was about two stories in one. There was Walter living life through depression aka The Beaver and there was Porter living his life through writing about others. Both of these stories were showing how much Walter and Porter were alike and how much Meredith and Norah are alike. It was a very unique way to view living life through others or other things but it worked out perfectly. My favorite thing about the film was the last 30 minutes. The entire third act was remarkable and really overshadowed all my initial dislikes in the film in regards to no one committing Walter. It was a truly powerful and scary because it showed the true side effects of depression and just how deep into the depression Walter really was. I don't want to give anything away but I will let you know that something does happen to Walter in the last 30 minutes that truly impacts his life. It brings the overall tone of the film to a very dark and depressing state but I feel it was an important part of the film. This film wouldn't have worked out to be so good if it wasn't for how deep it got in that last 30 minutes.

In the end, "The Beaver" will definitely not be a film for everyone. If you are going expecting a comedy, I will warn you right now that you should stay far away. This is not a comedy and it's not even a dramedy. While it does have a few light-hearted moments here and there, this is probably one of the darkest mainstream films that I have come across in quite some time. I don't know how well this is going to do, one for the obvious reason of Mel Gibson, but also because of the small niche market for this film. It obviously has great performances, good direction, and a well written story but the subject matter isn't what most people want to see. I think it's great to see a film be as ballsy and real as this one but I also know this isn't what sells tickets. I would be curious to see how this does when it's released. I personally think it's a must see and recommend those who are into really serious dramas to put this on the top of your list. It's a really unique take on depression, as well as a unique piece of cinema.
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Leave it to "The Beaver"
dee.reid23 August 2011
What bad thing hasn't been said about the troubled actor Mel Gibson in the last 12 months? Woman beater? Racist? Anti-Semetic? Pig? How about great actor? Regardless of how you feel about Mel Gibson the person, there is no denying that Mel Gibson the actor is still pretty outstanding; his latest, the criminally underrated comedy-drama "The Beaver," proves his mettle as one of our great performers.

As directed by Jodie Foster, who also co-stars, "The Beaver" is a film that had little going for it in the area of promotion, and was virtually ignored at the box office; there's no doubt in my mind that Gibson's crazy personal life played a hand in the film's disappointing critical and box office performances. And that is not to say that this film is any way bad. In fact, it's actually quite good. Although its premise is actually quite ludicrous and should not succeed by any rational means (but this isn't a completely rational film) - Gibson stars as a depressed family man named Walter Black who can only express himself through a beaver hand-puppet - you have to turn on your suspension-of-disbelief button into maximum overdrive mode.

Foster plays his wife Meredith, who is forced to bear witness to a man who may be steadily losing his mind, along with her two sons - troubled high schooler Porter (Anton Yelchin) and kindergärtner Henry (Riley Thomas Stewart). Henry's young age allows him to freely accept Walter and "The Beaver," but Porter openly resents him. In a sub-plot, Porter is also behind a lucrative paper-writing scam that also brings him the attention of a pretty classmate named Norah (Jennifer Lawrence), who is not as straight-laced as she seems, either.

But the focus here is Mel Gibson. Whether he's Mel Gibson or "Mad Mel," it is entirely possible that like "The Beaver" does here, it may have allowed Gibson to seek some sort of therapy for his troubling personal issues. I'm fairly certain he's not the first screwed-up actor in Hollywood to seek therapy through an on-screen film role. In fact, whatever issues he may not be able to say himself, "The Beaver" hand-puppet allows him to say what's on his mind.

"The Beaver" is a good film, no more, no less, with a truly capable performance by Mel Gibson, who despite what you think of him, is still one of the great actors (still) working in Hollywood.

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A very emotional and enjoyable movie
med77_9910 May 2011
People seem to forget that humans make mistakes, and that Mel Gibson has his shares of mistakes that I'm sure he is feeling bad about and trying to fix, but people are just so judgmental and non forgiving. the problem is, I'm sure that most of them had made similar mistakes in their lives, but are still going on about Gibson, sheesh !!

back to the movie, I was looking forward to it, because i think Mel Gibson is a really talented actor, and I gotta say, the movie did not disappoint me. the story as most of you might know from the trailers, is that Gibson's character suffers from depression, which has negative impact on him as well as on his family surrounding him. and just as things seem to be looking hopeless, he finds the Beaver, and with it, he finds his voice and his self. A simple yet effective story, executed in a very professional manner, it is a journey into healing and trying to beat that nasty depression. the characters are played to perfection, as Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, who also directs the film, deliver memorable performances.

It also tackles the family relations and how it is affected by the father's sickness and turmoil, about family supporting each other and an emotional father - son story.

Digging deep into Mel Gibson's character Psyche, and how he escapes his inner depression through the puppet, the beaver, is just so interesting. and they actually made the Beaver, the puppet itself so real, it appeared as a completely independent character, who was funny and at times even freighting. In summary, a highly recommended movie, great acting and a wonderful story. If you are one of those who are still obsessing about Gibson's mistakes, then just go watch Jumping the Broom.
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powerful comeback for Mel
Donatien322 April 2012
Once seen as a great actor and visionary director, Mel Gibson has fallen dramatically, with his private dramas overshadowing his on-screen talent. Funnily enough, it takes a film which reflects Gibson's real-life battle to show us how good he used to be.

Gibson stars as Walter Black, a CEO of Jerry Co toy company who is clinically depressed. He's drifting away from his devoted wife Meredith (Jodie Foster, who also directs the film) and his sons Porter (Zachary Booth) – a troubled teen who is desperate not to become like his father, despite the signs pointing that way - and Henry, a shy loner who blends in to the background, even to his mother.

After being kicked out of home, Walter discovers a mangy beaver puppet in the trash. After a failed suicide attempt, the puppet's personality kicks in, with Gibson putting a cockney accent when speaking through the beaver. While this form of alternate therapy seems effective both for his work (a new beaver-inspired product sees his once-troubled company revived) and reuniting with his family, eventually the severity of Walter's illness becomes apparent as the beaver tries to take over Walter completely. The sub-plot involves Porter – who writes other student's essays for money – forming a close friendship with the talented but troubled Norah ('The Hunger Games'' Jennifer Lawrence), who has just as many demons as Porter. While their relationship is tumultuous, these two damaged kids are perfect for each other.

Though Gibson is unlikely to fully rediscover his halcyon days, he manages to show both his funny and vulnerable side in 'The Beaver'.

While the puppet and his Ray Winstone-esque cockney accent are kind of cute, this isn't the Muppets. Depression isn't an easy subject to tackle but 'The Beaver' manages to do it maturely without being overwhelming, though it does get bleak at times. The moral of the film is quite uplifting: life isn't perfect and no-one is completely happy, but as long as you have someone to share it with, you'll be OK.
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Gibson Good As 'The Beaver'
ccthemovieman-17 October 2011
Wow, this is an odd movie. Well, kudos for the originality and the ability, I assume, to keep most people tuned to the screen for the hour-and-a-half.

I think the lure of the film is it gets you involved to the point where you just have to find out how all this insanity is going to wind up although - except for one shocking twist - it's fairly predictable.

In fact, the film becomes very close to being a "movie of the week" or Lifetime -TV stage, but Gibson's character and the great dialog and voice of "The Beaver" (Gibson sounding exactly like Ray Winstone), snaps it back to a story that re-grabs your attention, time after time, with the darkness of mental illness.

Gibson is great as "Walter Black" and Jodie Foster and the rest of the cast hold their own in here.

The film is worth a look; just don't take it seriously as some treatise on depression. It does have some dark, scary moments in between the comedy and melodrama. It's unique in that aspect.
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Good movie. Great drama. Depression awareness all in one.
gringogigante12 May 2012
I loved this movie. It found it sad that the timing of his personal implosion over-shadowed the importance and quality of this movie, but I loved it. All of it. Is it an Academy Award Nominee? No, but I'll recommend it to all who ask about it.

I wish his personal life had not unraveled to such a degree....who would want that for anyone. I wish Hollywood and the press wouldn't have exploited every last second of it, but such is the shallow world of both. I found it particularly fascinating and ironic that he was booted from the cast of The Hangover II because none of the actors wanted to support his woman abusing ways.....and then they brought back Mike Tyson (a wife beater and rapist)for a recurring role. Why would one be surprised by the shallowness of H-town.

Rent this. Besides the fact that everyone deserves a second chance, it's a good movie.
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A good movie that could've been great
EduardoSandrini7913 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Beaver is a movie about how people deal with the hard times of life in different ways.

The main character is a father and CEO that is in the middle of a great depression. His family and company are both crumbling down because of it.

This is a topic that is rarely touched in Hollywood and the story raises some deep question. That is the forte of this film. However it doesn't go as deep as it could when answering those question and the third act sounds just too easy and simplistic for such dreadful problems. Moreover, the reactions towards the puppet, while somewhat believable at first, are hard to swallow most of the time.

Despite its lack of boldness in the third act, the movie has some great performances, specially from Mel Gibson (notice how the Beaver mimics Walter Black's every facial expression) as well as from Anton Yelchin. Jodie Foster does only an OK job, mostly due to her lack of screen time.

The movie could've been a classic but it is still way above average and it will still make you think about it long after you've finished watching it. I definitely recommended it.
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A surprisingly excellent film
macktan89431 December 2011
I just rented the DVD last night and must admit was not all that enthusiastic about the choice. Who wants to see a film about a guy who takes up with a toy beaver? But, amazingly, the more I got into the film, the more engrossed I became. Mel Gibson does a brilliant job as Walter Black, a darkly depressed middle aged man whose despair over his lack of feeling leads to lethargy and destroys everything in his life, predictably resulting in thoughts of suicide. No one really wants to die--death is forever. So it's a perverted attempt at self rescue when Walter finds a beaver puppet in a trashcan and converts it into an alter ego--with an Australian accent!-- that restores him to life.

Anyone who's suffered from depression knows what a debilitating, painful mental illness it is. Many turn to alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping-- anything to relieve them of their agony. It is a slow dark march toward death. That Walter bonds with a puppet to drag him back from that march is initially absurd but also laudable. That he succeeds in convincing others that his remedy is acceptable is ludicrously first.

But the puppet is perhaps the mania edge of Walter's bipolar malady. And eventually he finds himself in conflict again, in descent.

What's remarkable about this film is Mel Gibson's performance. He committed 1000% to this role and played Walter Black as a man wrangling with mental illness and trying to deal with it as best he could. I found him totally believable and empathized with him completely.

The major subplot dealing with Walter's son who is more like his father than he's willing to consciously accept is perhaps a bit neat, a bit heavy handed, but it is interesting and does work. Kudos to the screenwriter for whom this script was a first time effort and first sale.

Mel Gibson has had some personal problems also played out spectacularly in the media. I suspect he's not far from Walter Black himself. As a black person, I should be upset at him. But I'm not. I don't believe he's a racist for some reason. I believe he was, he is, a man under pressure and an unhappy man rooting around for a joy in living that once came so easily for all of us. I've always been a Mel Gibson fan and will continue to be.
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Gibson is great, the movie is not
bdgill127 September 2011
Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is a chronically depressed, miserable man who has been lost in a dark cloud of despair for years. He has driven the toy company his father founded to the brink of bankruptcy and that's nothing compared to the damage he's done to his family. His youngest son (Riley Thomas Stewart) doesn't essentially doesn't have a father, his oldest son (Anton Yelchin) despises him, and his wife (Jodie Foster) has kicked him out of the house. As the voice-over tells us, Walter died inside long ago but his body didn't have the decency to follow suit. On a serious bender, Walter finds a beaver hand puppet in a dumpster and when he comes to after a failed suicide attempt, he begins to speak to himself through the beaver (with a British accent, no less). He develops his own form of therapy, speaking only through the beaver and begins to reintegrate himself into the lives of his family members and his company with great success. Before long, however, Walter can no longer find the line of reality between himself and the beaver and watches as all the progress he had made washes away.

The similarities between Walter and Gibson himself are obvious and significant. Add in some unfortunate voicemail rants and a touch of anti-Semitism and this could play as a Gibson documentary. These similarities are also where "The Beaver" makes its money. Walter's transition seems authentic (to a point) as if Gibson himself is undergoing the therapy along with his character. He exhibits the right character traits of man who has lost his way and is struggling to find a way back and the work he does with facial expressions, body language, etc. is rich. It's quite possible that, as a Gibson fan and someone who wants to see him get back on track, I could be exaggerating the overall quality of his performance but I think a great deal is asked of him in this roll and he delivers. I wouldn't go so far as to call this a superb performance but it is solid and compelling and an example of just how good Gibson can be when he gives himself a chance.

The other elements within "The Beaver" represent a decisive step down from the work done by Gibson. Foster's character never really finds a foothold to become substantial and her work as director is satisfactory but unspectacular. Kyle Killen's script is uneven, too drawn out in some parts but rushed in others resulting in a film that doesn't develop quite the way I believe it was supposed to. And while I am generally down with a darker narrative, "The Beaver" is almost overwhelmed with it to the point of frustrating bleakness. Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence (the Valedictorian cheerleader) have some nice moments together but their relationship is poorly developed and is treated at times like a distraction from the storyline involving Walter. A lot could have been done with Yelchin's character and his relationship with Walter but it stagnates early on and just barely reaches for redemption in the end. All totaled, "The Beaver" is a good movie with one great performance that carries the film much further than it could have gone otherwise. It is a worthwhile viewing but not one that I'd look forward to seeing again.

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Mel Gibson is back!!!
varghesejunior14 January 2011
It is a very difficult thing to write a review about a movie that stars one of your all time favorite actors.

But biased as we may seem to be, there is no harm in being honest when the movie has lived up to one's expectations.

When the first promo of this movie was released it met with a largely negative reaction, which i attribute to the recent unsavory incidents that Mel Gibson has been involved in. But 30 minutes into the movie and you will be extremely happy with his performance.

Mel Gibson has the capacity to express himself exceedingly well through his expressive eyes and although age has done its thing with his face he still manages to live up to the character he portrays in the movie. There is nothing extraordinary about 'the beaver' but i guess there are moments in our life when simplicity can mean a lot. This is a movie for all those people who want a second chance at setting things in their life right.

Jodie looks beautiful as usual and the pair is as good as it was many years ago when they starred in 'The Maverick'. The whole cast put up a decent job.

This coupled with nice background score and an simple yet engaging script makes 'The Beaver' a movie worth watching.
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Awesome movie, except THAT one yawn moment
maximovlE25 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie, I really did. Mel Gibson was excellent as always, as were all the cast. The whole puppet thing was great and I believe the movie deserves 10/10. Yeah I know I'm never going to get a job as a movie critic because that's all I have, except this...

The one bad part of the movie is something I've seen in far too many movies recently. That whole part that the lovely Jennifer Lawrence delivers.... "right now in this auditorium there's someone who is with you, someone who is willing to pick you up, dust you off, kiss you, forgive you, put up with you, wait for you, carry you, love you." ... "You do not have to be alone." I get it. I do. It's lovely and hitting and gets the son to go see the dad. Im just a little sick of all these movies presumptuously saying how we all have family who love us as long as we accept them.

Well we don't. Many of us don't. Many of us ARE alone. Many of us don't have a choice and there is nothing we can do to change that. I'd personally have liked her line to have been more about the son himself, something about him that would then lead him to see his dad himself, rather than because he's been reminded that no matter what's been going on, his dad loves him.

Yeah know it fitted the film, but like I said, I've seen these lines so many times recently. The crux of the movie turns out that your parents are there for you... Well, they're not. Build your own character and don't rely on others.

Thanks, rant over, enjoy the movie!
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Depression and Puppets
stevendedalis6 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Unique. The one word I would use to describe the entire film is unique. It is full of questions never answered, the ending is, in my honest opinion, bad, and the main character is a puppet.

Wow that is a lot of unique ideas being poured into a serious drama about depression. The main character (Mel Gibson) is depressed and his wife (Jodie Foster) kicks him out. He finds a beaver puppet in the dumpster and turns that into his second personality to help save him from his depression. It works surprisingly. Then he goes back to the dumps. Then he is back again. And then the movie is over.

Terrible ending in my opinion. The movie left so much unfinished and unanswered questions that still lie in my mind. Such as his job, his sanity/health, and his family as a whole. They could easily make a second movie like this, but please don't.

As much as the movie is interesting, unique, creative, and playful, it is equally as annoying, bad, and simply confusing and dumb at parts.

Overall, this unique film has a lot of elements that are good and a lot that are bad so it falls at a lovely 5/5 rating.
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viewing is required
p-e-403-66073922 June 2012
this film is a story about loneliness.

loneliness is not afraid of the crowd, it does not scare the cosiness of a family, it penetrates into the soul, as rust. and when it seems that loneliness is willing soul finally, there appeared a hero - a beaver.

beaver's last attempt to free themselves from the loneliness, to survive. he is the alter-ego of the character. the appearance of the theme of the twin is the basis of the scene of many of the subjects of classic literature way or another have been devoted to this topic. Hoffman, Gogol, Dostoevsky began to develop it.

so, the theme of the twin is the basis of the plot of this film. first, the beaver is childish, free alter-ego of the character. but then the beaver begins to separate from the hero, begins to live its own life. in short, the animal starts to prevail over the human in the main character. to resolve this conflict character has resorted to an animal, cruel, radical solution. in other words, like cures like.

thus, the story back to the beginning in a spiral. it seems that it was in vain. but in fact this journey together with the beaver, this duel with the beaver helped main character: family "saw" him, the loneliness is gone.
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What a Surprise!
lacrossezombie12 September 2011
I've wanted to see this movie since it was released, but it was out of theaters by the time I got around to going to see it. The other day I was browsing IMDb and this came up and I noticed it was on DVD. I grabbed it the first chance I got and watched it. I expected little from this movie, just a nice entertaining family comedy. As I began to watch, I quickly realized I was totally wrong. The movie begins with Walter Black, a troubled man who was just kicked out of his house by his wife and family, emptying out his trunk so he can fit beer in it, and while throwing his trash out in the dumpster sees a beaver puppet and grabs it. He then goes home and tries to kill himself. However, he does it with the puppet on his hand and when he knocks himself out trying to commit suicide he wakes up talking through the puppet. Walter uses this puppet to say everything. He then tries to reconcile with his family, doing it acting like the puppet. Everyone that comes across his path must accept him for who he is now that he is using this puppet for communication. It also tells the story of his whole family and the problems they also face, especially his oldest son. The son's story is equally as emotional and entertaining as his fathers. The acting, especially by Mel Gibson and Anton Yelchin were wonderful, and Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence were also great. The story is unique and quirky but is also very deep and emotional, which I wasn't expecting at all. This movie is great for anyone who like Mel Gibson or wants a movie with a deep story and a great ending. I give it 9/10.
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Acting is amazing all around, especially Gibson's, but the script fails at certain levels that are really important for this kind of story.
axismladen8 August 2011
The Beaver is the story of Walter Black, a hopelessly depressed individual who finds the way out in a puppet that speaks for him. He finds a beaver puppet in a dumpster and decides to take it with him to the hotel room where he get's drunk and tries to commit a suicide. After the first attempt fails he climbs on the edge of the balcony and is about to jump, but than, all the sudden, the beaver speaks out and brings him to his senses. The idea, as simple and dull as it may sound, is actually quite good and interesting when you think about it. Unforunatelly, the script lacks a great deal in structure and character development which is ultimately why the movie is not nearly as good as it could've and should've been.

Jennifer Lawrence and Anthon Yelchin are both brilliant in the movie and a big talent is really visible in their performances. Unfortunately, while Yelchin is obviously very, very talented, i just can't see the leading man in him. His charisma is, i think, really not on the same level with his talent. However, that being said, i do not doubt it that both of them are gonna be Academy Award winners one day. Jennifer Lawrence is already almost there. With one nomination behind her, the second one is surely gonna come. And i think that one day, with the right choice of roles, she could even be Hollywood's best leading lady. She definitely has what it takes for it.

However, all the good performances in this movie really fall to water compared to the one of Mel Gibson. I don't know if he's acting or is it him self in the movie, and honestly i don't care. All i know is that he's brilliant. If only the character had more to offer, i'm sure the role would be remembered for a long, long time. But even though the movie fails at certain levels, Gibson's performance was definitely worthy of a much larger recognition. If you ask me, the reason he wasn't at the Oscars this year, if not as a winner than definitely as a nominee, is the fresh new scandal that happened in his life. And that's, i think, unfair because he is an actor and he should be judged as an actor and not as a human being. In fact, i don't think anyone can judge him as a human being since none of us knows him like one. The only way we (the audience), and the critics, can know him is as an actor. As Mad Max, William Wallace, Walter Black and so on.... As far as this role goes, at my opinion, he was definitely robbed of all the recognition he well deserved for the portrayal of Walter Black. An amazing performance that was unfairly overlooked by the Academy's voters.

The weakest link as far as the acting goes is, and i can't believe i'm actually saying this, Jodie Foster. It could be because she was busy working as a director on the movie, but her performance, even though good, is really not on the same level as those of Yelchin and Lawrence, and needless to say, as the one of Mel Gibson. Another thing i felt was very weak is the score. Well, it's not bad, it's good. It just doesn't fit this film. It's too melodic and.... Italian. I just don't think it's right for this kind of story. The score that this movie desperately needed should've been something like the one from American Beauty. That would fit great! Slow, sad, tragic... It would've been great!

I really wish the script was longer. And simply because you can't build so many complicated characters in ninety pages. Not convincingly anyway. And especially in a movie like this one which was supposed to be a deep story that deals with a very important subject. What i really like about the movie is the feeling of a solution circling around all the time, but staying unreachable to everyone. Like for example, Walter's wife showing him pictures of their family back when everyone was happy hoping that he'll see some hope or inspiration in it.... and so on... which he fails at doing. That could've been a real good description of the state he, and the depressed people in general, are usually in. But, once again, the script fails terribly in structure and it prevents it's character's from going in whatever direction they were supposed to go. Truth be told, i don't think it's the writer's fault so much as it is Hollywood's. Producer's rarely allow the movie to be a piece of art these day's, even when some movies like this one are meant to be just it. I wouldn't be surprised if the first draft was way better than the one they made the movie on.

To conclude my review, i wasn't bored, but i was definitely not blown away either. The only thing that was great about the movie is acting. Gibson's especially. Maybe it's because i had really high hopes for this movie, but i was a bit disappointed. It's a good movie, but i expected it to be great!!!! It's definitely worth a watch, but i wouldn't put my hopes into being left speechless.
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A heavy handed drama which showcases sincere performances
moviexclusive23 June 2011
The phrase "I'm depressed" is a phrase we hear people lamenting a lot these days. Heck, we are guilty of whining about how depressed we are too. Work woes? Relationship problems? Uncertain future? Depression is more indeed a convenient state to live with, until a solution comes along. But how serious can depression get? How affected can one get to entirely lose interest in activities that dictate normalcy? While we are no medical experts, we are guessing that if one's feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness, worthlessness and restlessness lead to difficulties concentrating, remembering and making simple decisions, he should be duly concerned. We are also guessing that if one can only communicate through a hand puppet like the protagonist of this film, he is in need of medical attention too. After a 16 years hiatus (Home for the Holidays) as director, Jodie Foster casts good friend Mel Gibson (Edge of Darkness) as the CEO of a toy company who becomes depressed after being kicked out by his wife. A series of incidents leads to him taking on a new persona in which he speaks through a beaver hand puppet. His wife and elder son are unconvinced that he is serious about this, but as a favour to his younger son who loves the beaver, they try to play along with the depressed man. Anyone with some common sense would think that this setup is a joke, wouldn't he? We, too, would be cynical if someone comes up to us one day to say that he can only converse through a hand puppet. However, we wouldn't mind playing along if the puppet was cute. And in this case, the beaver is one adorable creation that you'd want to cuddle. But wait till you see how serious our protagonist is with his newfound identity. That is also probably when you realise that this 91 minute film written by Kyle Killen has got a somber message to tell. Things get heavy handed as Gibson's character plunges deeper into this absurd game, and as a concerned fellow human being, you begin to wonder how severe one's depression can get. Gibson seems to be the perfect actor to play the troubled protagonist. The Australian actor has been in the news recently for accusations of anti-Semitism, misogyny and racism – could the Academy Award winning filmmaker be facing some personal problems himself? His sunken eyes and sullen emotions in the film seem to be cry out for help, and you can't resist reading a little deeper into this role. Besides directing the film, his Maverick (1994) co star Foster takes on the role of the skeptical wife. The two have a comfortable on screen chemistry, probably due to their long time friendship. The film also features outstanding performances by up and coming young actor Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation) as the couple's elder son and Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) as his girlfriend hiding a secret. Audiences expecting a smart comedy (who wouldn't when the protagonist talks through a beaver puppet almost throughout the movie?) will be left cold by the production's serious tone. There is a unsettling feeling that the film tries a little too hard at times to shed light on depression as a medical condition, but we are assuming that its intentions are good – you wouldn't want yourself to resort to conversing via a hand puppet one day, would you?
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Love Foster, but the movie missed
dpavlichek6227 October 2011
I'm a big Jodie Foster fan, so I had to see this movie (after it came out in DVD). Her directing was brilliant, with the movie effectively conveying the sense of loss, helplessness, and despair that comes with depression. The dissociation experienced by Gibson's character, in which he begins to communicate only through a puppet, is nicely played and nicely written. But what missed for me was that - although we learn what the son's love interest is "stuck" on (the death of her brother), we never learn what put Walter in such a state. Aside from some pictures of a baby (we don't know whether it's a baby who died or photos of the living sons as babies) and a nod toward the death of his father two years earlier, nothing is even hinted at. It seems germane to the point of the movie to know why Walter is depressed. Simply getting him into treatment isn't enough. Like I said, a lot of film real estate was spent about the secondary character (the cheerleader) and her loss, but nothing is obvious about the root cause of Walter's malfunction. This makes the movie harder to empathize with.

Like I said, nice job Ms. Foster, but the writers obviously missed tying the story lines together.
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'The Beaver' did not dig deep enough...
simmmz30 June 2011
Despite being considered a 'high-concept' film, 'The Beaver' is a strangely safe and conventional family drama, void of genuine emotion and coated with a superficial veneer. Nothing resonates.

Something felt really off about the screenplay and direction. The most compelling aspect of the story was exactly how a person could develop an illness in which they choose to communicate through a puppet – but 'The Beaver' skims over this with an unexpected montage. The audience is given no sense of how Walter Black unravels. Actually, the audience is given no sense of Walter Black at all, so therefore the beaver puppet feels like nothing more than a gimmick. I'm truly surprised to read reviews that talk about a film that explores a 'broken man's attempt to rebuild his life'.

The performances weren't up to scratch either. Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence have both proved their acting chops in previous roles – but here they are inconsistent. Jodie Foster seemed slightly uncomfortable and self-conscious (a real surprise, as she is one of my all-time favourites), so perhaps taking on both directing and acting was unwise. Gibson's performance is difficult to comment on. Asthetically he looks the part of a shattered soul, but the writing provides very little insight into the man behind the puppet.

The music was intrusive, with one of the most distracting scores I've encountered in recent memory, and one of Radioheads most emotionally devastating songs was misused in an 'are you kidding me?' moment. To be positive, the cinematography is crisp and clear – and the film is clearly ambitious....but ambition does not equal a good film.

I was expecting 'The Beaver' to be a moving exploration of the human condition, with a focus on communication and mental illness. Instead, I got a superficial family drama that spreads itself too thin. The concept of 'The Beaver' had amazing potential, but unfortunately it did not dig deep enough.
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If Thy Beaver Hand-Puppet Offends Thee... Cut-It-Off!
strong-122-47888515 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I'd definitely say that The Beaver's most demented "WTF? moment" was when Walter (while having sex with his wife) still kept the beaver puppet stuck on his hand.... In that perplexing moment which I would call "sheer idiocy", I'd say that that sort of frickin' nonsense takes the cake.... (Sheesh!)

I think that this film really sent out all kinds of totally screwy messages about dealing with matters concerning serious psychosis. While watching this flaw-infested film I kept asking myself - "What the hell is director Jodie Foster trying to tell me with this crap?"

One thing that I'm certain of is that, at some time in her life, Jodie Foster must've had to deal with some of her own personal issues with her real-life father in order to take it upon herself to direct a film of this one's dysfunctional nature.

With "The Beaver" it totally killed me that at the absolute peak of his lunacy, Walter Black was at his most creative, actually managing to save his faltering company from bankruptcy. And, on top of that, his screwed-up beaver-psychosis made him a media-celebrity who was winning rounds of applause and approval from the entire American population.

(See what I mean about being sent screwy messages?)

It looked to me as though Walter's schizophrenic state had actually elevated him to a "super-hero" status in the eyes of so many.

One thing that I couldn't figure out was, if Walter was refusing to take off the beaver hand-puppet for any reason, whatsoever, then, how the hell was he able to get his suit-jacket and shirts on and off? And, like, when one eats steak one's got to use 2 hands for cutting it, right? So, was Walter getting the beaver to saw his meat for him with its teeth, or something?

In summing up this film's story in a nutshell, I view its symbolism as being very clear to the fact that Walter, literally, had his hand shoved up the beaver's ass.

I resent Jodie Foster for this terrible attempt at trying to manipulate my emotions. I'm really beginning to hate these sorts of films where a great tragedy has to take place in a broken family before its apathetic members start to really care about one another. (Give me a break!)

And finally - As far as Mr. Mel Gibson goes, I think that he was totally the wrong actor for the part of Walter Black. Let's face it, Gibson is just way too superficial as an actor to be at all convincing in a demanding role such as this one.

It was so obvious to me that Gibson (with, or without the frickin' beaver) couldn't carry this film all on his own. And that's why so much screen-time was invested in paying attention to Black's teenage son, Porter.

Putting Porter's predictable, little "cutie-pie" romance with Norah aside, I thought this boy of Black's was one very dangerous, little psycho (like father, like son?) with his neurotic notes pasted up in his room, and, especially, him repeatedly smashing his head at full-force against the bedroom wall until his noggin made a gaping hole right through to the other side.

(Of course, Porter's head was never bruised after any of these brutal assaults. Nor did anyone in the house ever hear these thundering bouts of insanity.... (Very peculiar, indeed)

Needless to say, The Beaver was a box-office flop. People stayed away from this one in droves. Its budget was $21 million. It has since grossed approx. $1 million.

All-in-all - The Beaver was shallow, sugar-coated worthlessness. Thank goodness this tripe only lasted for 90 minutes.
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Breakdown, redemption and, in between, a beaver
vinsond2128 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I was thoroughly immersed in this story of a man who handles his depression by speaking through his hand-puppet, a discarded beaver doll picked up from the trash. Jodie Foster impresses as both director and actress, and she succeeds in extracting fine performances from her strong cast with Mel Gibson as the convincing lead. The part when Gibson's character tries to break loose from the dominating beaver personality is genuinely scary. And though they play an estranged couple, Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson share real chemistry whenever their characters are together. The story is affecting, and the music score is sublime. I have found myself falling asleep while watching movies with lots of noise and action; this engaging little work had no problem holding my attention from beginning to end.
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