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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.
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.
"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
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'm sure everyone has heard of the problems that Mel Gibson has had
recently. Hell, they probably know more about his personal life and
what happened with him before they've even heard about this movie.
That's a shame, because this is a pretty good movie. Granted, it's not
anything groundbreaking --- but it is a fine drama about a man who
tries to find himself before he loses himself completely. Some very
good acting and directing (from Jodie Foster, no less) make this one
Walter Black (Gibson) is suffering from depression. So bad, in fact, that his wife, Meredith (Foster, pulling double duty here) has to throw him out so as not to inflict his sickness on their kids: Porter (Yelchin) and Henry (Stewart). The depression isn't only affecting his home-life, it's also affecting his work as well. He's the CEO of a major toy company, courtesy of his father. The Vice President of the company (Cherry Jones) is more qualified, but Walter inherited the position after his father's death. While throwing away some boxes from the trunk of his car, he comes across a beaver puppet that someone tossed aside into a dumpster. He picks it up and takes it with him to the hotel where he plans to drink himself into a stupor and then hang himself. The next morning, Walter awakens to a gruff voice (his own, in fact, but with an English accent) and a puppet staring him in the face, known only as The Beaver. He informs Walter that he's there to save his life... and in the beginning, The Beaver does just that. While Walter finds new life and purpose again through The Beaver, his son Porter has his own little dilemma. Firstly, he writes term papers for fellow classmates for money and the class valedictorian, Norah (Lawrence) hires him to write her graduation speech and secondly, he's afraid he's turning into his father, so he writes down all the similarities as to not duplicate them, because he despises the man.
The Beaver does move a bit slow -- but then again, it's a serious movie about depression, I didn't expect car bombs and people getting pistol-whipped. Jodie Foster doesn't let us linger too long in one area before whisking us away to another story line -- it's a technique that allows us to follow a few different stories so we're not bored, so we don't count down the minutes till the end. I think she does a masterful job of telling the main story without it getting too silly and doesn't play the puppet for laughs. It would be a different story had she wanted to film a comedy, but she keeps everything in a nice balance with some serious storytelling with extremely light injections of humor.
The reason to watch The Beaver is Mel Gibson, I'm afraid. I think it's one of the most daring and boldest roles of his career. Had he not been a Hollywood asshat early on this year or the last part of last year, he just might be looking at an Academy Award nomination. He makes it seem that The Beaver does have his own personality and that it's a separate character altogether. He gives the film's best performances and it's also one of the year's greatest. Foster does just fine as his wife -- there's not much for her to do in front of the camera, but it's nice to see her all the same. Yelchin and Lawrence also crank out some good performances, but nothing particularly floored me with what they brought to the table.
I would have liked to see a bit more resolved by the movie's end, but it wasn't so left unopened that it made me made, either. Even if you have a problem with Mel and just can't stand the guy because of his off-screen antics, you should give this one a try. I'm not telling you to like the guy, because as I said before, things happen where we either like the person or not, no amazing performance is going to change my view about how I feel about a person, that's for sure. But... that being said... I challenge you to find a better performance by a lead actor this year so far.
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Final Grade: B
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
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.
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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