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.