Film Review: Mel Gibson Delivers in Jodie Foster’s Daring ‘The Beaver’

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – What does it take to crawl out of a hole so deep that you can no longer see the sky? For some people, depression isn’t just a bad mood or an off day, it is as debilitating as a disease, and it can kill. One such man is Walter Black (Mel Gibson), and the unusual way that he survives his affliction is chronicled in the fascinating, memorable, accomplished “The Beaver.” Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

First and foremost, don’t let the controversy around Mel Gibson’s personal life impact the way you approach “The Beaver.” Of course, watching a fictional character battle serious personal demons knowing the actor who plays that character also has a few issues of his own adds an unintentional layer to the film but “The Beaver” would be a strong piece of dramatic work regardless of the tabloid coverage of its star. This is a daring drama, a true risk for everyone involved that pays off with an emotionally rewarding piece about mental illness, family ties, and turning points.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Beaver” in our reviews section.

It would be easy to falsely label “The Beaver” purely based on its title. Avoid critics who want to reduce the film to “the movie where Mel Gibson talks to his hand.” A surprising number of people have refused to look deeper to see that this is a story not solely about its title character. This is a tale of two men at turning points — one older one questioning whether or not he has the strength to go on and one younger one who has long desired to break completely from his family. With incredibly strong performances throughout and complex tone management by its multi-talented director, “The Beaver” is one of the most interesting and most rewarding films of the year to date.

Gibson stars as Walter Black, a man in such a deep pit of depression that it has completely torn his life apart. He does nothing but sleep and cry. His family has tried for years to save him but they have realized that they must cut ties in order to save their own sanity. As the film opens, his wife Meredith (Jodie Foster) has kicked him out of the home. His youngest son Henry (Riley Thomas Stewart) has turned quiet while his oldest son Porter (Anton Yelchin) spends time keeping track of the commonalities between he and his father that he hopes to eradicate before leaving for good.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “The Beaver” review.

“The Beaver” stars Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Riley Thomas Stewart, Cherry Jones, Anton Yelchin, and Jennifer Lawrence. It was written by Kyle Killen and directed by Foster. It opens in Chicago on May 6th, 2011 and is rated PG-13.

The Beaver
The Beaver
Photo credit: Summit Pictures

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