Summit Entertainment, Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ

Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Riley Thomas Stewart, Cherry Jones, Kelly Coffield, Michael Rivera, Zachary Booth, Matt Lauer

Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is the CEO of his father’s successful toy company. But he’s suffering from a severe case of depression that is real and completely debilitating. Suddenly he’s about to lose his company, his family, and perhaps even his life as he drifts from day to day, many days never getting out of bed. Drugs and therapy have not helped, but suddenly he begins using a beaver hand puppet to help him open up to his family. Walter can’t talk to anyone, but the Beaver can, and he turns things around in a hurry with the Beaver’s help. But Walter isn’t alone. With his father seemingly going insane, adolescent son Porter (Anton Yelchin) pushes for his parents to get a divorce. Jodie Foster directs and co-stars as Walter’s wife in this dark comedy that also features Riley Thomas Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence.

The Beaver bombed in the box office and I’m not sure why. Surely a movie about depression must be depressing. Maybe that’s why? Or is it the other summer blockbuster movies that just buried it? Or could it be backlash directed at Mel Gibson who has certain had a run of very bad press of late. When Mariah Carey went through her nutsy phase, Glitter was a huge bomb, but was it really that bad? Well, maybe so, but Brittney’s Crossroads suffered the same fate. Of course it wasn’t very good, really, either. But this isn’t a bad film. I can see why Jody Foster took on the project, and Mel was an excellent Walter, and I really believed him. In fact, maybe making this movie is in some way therapy for the real Mel Gibson, who knows. But it is a warm and touching film about a very real illness. Too many people dismiss depression as something you just need to shake off and move on. Get yourself out of bed and move on. I will never forget the sweetest scene in “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” when Charlie makes it all the way to the National Spelling Bee and loses by misspelling Beagle. (B-E-A-G-E-L). Charlie arrives back in town and no one is there to meet the bus. Next day he doesn’t go to school and stays in bed all day. Linus arrives after school and says, “Charlie Brown, you lost the spelling bee. You lost, but guess what? The world didn’t end.”

This is the message of The Beaver. Depression is real and isn’t something that you can just wish away. It takes lots of help and lots of support. It also takes a lot of effort. Mel shows us this very well. His wife also shows us a real wife. Supportive as she can be, but tired of having no husband, and frustrated. When things start to look up, she’s expecting an instant leap to normalcy, which isn’t ready yet. But the key relationship here is the two boys. The oldest is experiencing many of the same things his dad feels. But Walter’s Dad also had the same illness. It is heredity, and is passed on in many familes. So the life that Walter’s son is moving into could be the same as his father and his grandfather. The relationship between Walter and his sons is also very important to the story. This is a slow moving, and very thoughtful film, but told very well with good characters. I don’t think it should have been completely ignored by the public, and my hope is now that it’s on DVD that it will come back in a strong way in the rental market. It’s time to forgive Mel for his weaknesses, and give this movie a chance. I am certainly glad I watched it. It had a really good story to tell and it was very well done.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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