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
Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can't seem to get himself back on track until a beaver hand puppet enters his life.
Walter Black est un homme déchu et souffrant d’une dépression sévère, mis à la porte par sa femme Meredith et détesté par son fils aîné Porter. Songeant au suicide, il est sauvé in extremis par une marionnette sous forme de castor trouvée par hasard. Accroché à son bras gauche, l’animal en peluche devient son sauveur.