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Walter, once a successful and happy family man, has hit rock bottom. But, in his darkest hour, he finds a rather unusual savior: a beaver hand-puppet that takes over Walter's life in an attempt to change things for the better.
Academy Award® winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with Academy Award® winner Mel Gibson in a film critics call bold, complex, and funny.
In the age of 24/7 news cycles and paparazzi storms, separating a celebrity's outside activities from their projects is a near-impossibility. In some select cases, that may not be such a bad thing. When judged solely by what's on the screen, The Beaver is a strange curio of a film, an extremely well-acted, yet rather austere profile of a suburban meltdown that tiptoes uneasily between drama and black comedy. When the personal life of its star Mel Gibson is factored in, however, it becomes exponentially more vital. Kyle Killen's script follows Walter Black Gibson, the terminally depressed CEO-by-inheritance of a toy company, whose wife director Jodie Foster finally gives him the heave-ho after years of miscommunication. On the edge of ending it all, he discovers a buck-toothed puppet in a dumpster, and proceeds to use it as a separate and worryingly dominant entity determined to help him put his life in turnaround. As he begins to regain the trust of his bewildered yet game family and coworkers, his alienated oldest son Anton Yelchin strikes up a tentative romance with a cerebral cheerleader Winter's Bone's amazing Jennifer Lawrence. Once Walter begins bringing his furry counterpart into the shower, however, things start to crack. Foster's intelligence as a director is well established by this point, but her measured, reasoned approach seems somehow wrong for the premise, which may have benefited from a wilder, on-the-brink feel to match that of its characters. Gibson, however, always seems willing to go farther than the film's controlled tone allows, bringing a hysterical, mesmerizing pathos to the increasingly manic give-and-take relationship between himself and his dark side. Foster's odd, sympathetic film is well worth watching, but its theory could stand a little more of her lead actor's troubled chaos. --Andrew Wright