The Beaver

Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin
Director: Jodie Foster

It has been a long time since I've seen Mel Gibson in anything. He has been out in the film circuit for quite sometime, and reappeared again, later, in this strange movie. Strange, because he's wearing a beaver puppet hand, but otherwise, a good film. While it didn't hit a home run, The Beaver provides a pallet of performances that encapsulates the statement the piece was going for.

Walter Black has been depressed for quite some time. His wife has managed to kick him out of the house, he had been seeing a therapist but stopped, and has been in the verge of suicide. After some failed suicidal attempts, something in him snaps and an alter-personality is born through a beaver puppet he found in the trash. He communicates to others through the beaver, and although strange, there has been an improvement with the way he is. That didn't last though, as his old personality began to snap back when he realized that he lost his family and the beaver personality was taking over him.

Although the events surrounding the film are surreal, Mel Gibson's performance makes it seem viable. The way he spoke (distinction of his voice) and his actions, there is a difference between his Walter Black and his alter persona. The way everything played out, the Beaver seemed to be a separate identity, which made some social situations slightly awkward. The Beaver was able to voice out Walter's inner thoughts and ideas, control his life and put his life back on track. How Gibson carried it out without compromising one character over the other is good. He portrayed it as there is a battle between personalities, which one will survive or succumb over to the other. Jodie Foster was also great as Meredith Black, the woman who has put up with Walter for all those years. Seeing her husband bounce back from depression is a surprise. She played a strong woman, who was vulnerable when it comes to her family. The way she was written was that she was hopeful that her husband will come around.

I was particularly fond of the set design in Anton Yelchin's scenes, particularly his bedroom and the wall. It's somewhat reflective of his personality. He might be fixed on the outside, but as his room suggests, he too had secrets of his own. I don't usually pay attention to credits but when I saw Jodie Foster's name pop out as being the director, I was surprised. She was able to convey the tone that the film was going for. She was able to set out where the main characters were at the point of their lives. Particularly with Mel Gibson's scenes. They were shot in coherence with the characters he was portraying. While the performances were clearly not lacking, something was still missing to make the film hit its spot.

While there is a level of predictability, The Beaver manages to win spot on in terms of performance, which Foster clearly brought out of the film. However, it still felt lacking as compared to other family-centered flicks out there. Based on the other Gibson's films I've seen, this feels like a breath of fresh air. A good first time watch, but I don't think it'll do for a second time around. 


  1. I'm not a huge fan of Mel Gibson's acting, so I was never really curious about this movie. I think the only film of his I've ever liked was Signs, and I didn't really like his part in it, so... but I really like Yelchin and Foster, so maybe I'll watch this someday. Also, the beaver thing sounds a little weird.

    1. The beaver thing is weird, I think that's partly (or mostly) why the film didn't hit.