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THE BEAVER, 2011
A troubled executive (Gibson) adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communicating with his family and colleagues.
Release Date: 25 March 2011
After the big Mel Gibson debacle where he basically showcased that he is completely and undoubtedly unhinged, we all wanted to see how it might affect his acting and his acting career. We get our first chance since the infamous voice mails to see him in action on screen once again. It seems only fitting that he'd be playing a character who is completely and undoubtedly unhinged!
Walter is the executive of a failing toy company that was passed down to him from his father. He's been depressed for months, becoming more and more estranged from his wife Meredith and their sons Porter and Henry. Having had enough of Walter's downward spiral, Meredith kicks him out of the house, much to the approval of Porter who has been keeping track of all the similarities he has with his father so he can avoid becoming like him.
Walter throws most of his things away to make room in his car for alcohol. One of the things he throws out is a beaver puppet, which after a second glance, he saves from the dumpster. That night, in his hotel room after he's gotten drunk, Walter brings the puppet with him into the bathroom and attempts suicide by hanging himself from the shower rod using his tie. This fails when the rod breaks off the wall. Walter trudges to the balcony, the shower rod dragging behind him from his neck. He climbs onto the ledge, ready to jump, when suddenly the beaver puppet springs to “life” and asks Walter what he thinks he's doing.
Walter takes on the second personality of The Beaver, using the puppet as his only means of communication. He informs everyone via a card that talking through the puppet is, in fact, a form of treatment prescribed to him by one of the psychologists he's been seeing. The Beaver takes over as executive of the toy company and causes a huge increase in production and morale. The Beaver takes over Walter's family life, connecting with Henry and reconciling with Meredith. The Beaver also tries to bond with Porter, but the teenager just sees his father as insane and will have nothing to do with him.
In his own storyline, Porter writes term papers for fellow students at a hefty price. Because of this, he is hired by the head cheerleader who he has a crush on to write her Valedictorian speech. In the process of writing the speech, Porter and the cheerleader, Norah, become very close and their feelings for each other grows until Porter causes them to get caught by the police for tagging after he makes an ass of himself and drudges up the memories of Norah's deceased brother and accuses her of using the pain of his death as a crutch and excuse to stop her art.
Things take a turn for the worst for Walter and everyone else in his life when it turns out that everything's been a lie... the use of The Beaver is not psychiatric treatment, but is actually his unhinged mind needing to escape the real world by becoming this other much more confident personality and it all culminates into a confrontation between Walter and The Beaver!
I'm not going to call “The Beaver” a “great” film. It wasn't great. But it WAS very good and extremely entertaining and interesting. I seem to have a real soft spot for movies about mentally unstable individuals with my love of movies like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest”, “Girl, Interrupted” and “It's Kindof a Funny Story”. “The Beaver” doesn't quite reach the level of the first two movies mentioned, but it is at least as good (and possibly a little better) than “It's Kindof a Funny Story”.
The acting in this movie is absolutely superb! Jodie Foster plays her type of roll exceptionally well, and Anton Yelchin breaks out his misbehaving and misunderstood teenager with angst roll like “Charlie Bartlett” again. Gotta love type-casting! Mel Gibson's performance also shined in all but one scene. There's a part in the movie when Meredith makes Walter have to be himself and not The Beaver for the night of their anniversary. Walter seems totally awkward (which I expected) until Meredith shows him photos of their past together and he suddenly becomes panicked and tearful and finally retreats into The Beaver personality where he belittles Meredith and leaves. I felt like this one scene was a little over the top and I didn't understand Walter's reaction to the pictures at all. Of course, maybe that's good since he's crazy and I'm not.
“The Beaver” is a must-see film that gives great insight into the shattered mind of a desperate and depressed man and how one's behavior really does effect everyone around us.
I give “The Beaver” a 3.5 out of 5.