Critic Reviews



Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
With tightly controlled performances and uniquely eccentric events, The Beaver is mainly undone by the lack of a satisfying outcome.
Whatever you think of Mr. Gibson, whatever he has lost, he still has talent, and here displays acting of power and resonance. It's a pleasure, for a change, to see the best side of his split personality at work.
A risky bet that pays off solidly, Jodie Foster's much-delayed The Beaver survives its life/art parallels -- thanks to its star, Mel Gibson -- to deliver a hopeful portrait of mental illness that is quirky, serious and sensitive.
Foster's performance is crisp and forthright and surprisingly moving. There's something affecting about watching this disciplined, no-nonsense actress deliver her lines to a hand puppet - she's always game, if not exactly relaxed.
This is high-quality work from a professional (Gibson) who, news reports have suggested, has recently sunk to terrible lows in his nonprofessional life.
Gibson simply turns his signature righteous rage into a crushing inward sorrow-Sad Max?-and Foster boldly plays everything straight, rendering her actor's unnerving turn to mania (and a pitch-black third act) with zero tongue-in-cheek.
Gibson is better in the later scenes, when Walter tries to escape the Beaver's nefarious influence. And Gibson's never bad. It's just that we know how much is missing. As a raging nutcase, he's capable of so much more.
The troubled actor delivers a performance very few could pull off as a depressed father who begins communicating through a hand puppet, but Foster doesn't know how to manage it or navigate the script's seismic tonal shifts, and ends up producing a film that's deeply strange, yet incapable of leaving an impression.
Village Voice
Perhaps that's the problem. Mel's character isn't on Prozac, but the movie is-a succession of bland camera setups, cued to a highly conventional score. Would that the direction were half as nutty as the script or as wacked-out as its star!
The New Yorker
As director, Foster, working with Kyle Killen's screenplay, treats the goofy premise with a literal earnestness-as a family drama about separation and reunion-that seems all wrong. A little wit would have helped.

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