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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. Written by
This is a picture of Walter Black, a hopelessly depressed individual. Somewhere inside him is a man who fell in love. Who started a family. Who ran a successful company. That man has gone missing. No matter what he's tried, and he's tried everything, Walter can't seem to bring him back. It's as if he's died, but hasn't had the good sense to take his body with him. So mostly what he does is sleep.
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Jodie Foster takes on depression and Mel Gibson in "The Beaver"
"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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