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The Beaver (2011)


Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 172
Fresh: 104
Rotten: 68

Critics Consensus: Jodie Foster's visual instincts and Mel Gibson's all-in performance sell this earnest, straightforward movie.

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 30
Rotten: 15

Critics Consensus: Jodie Foster's visual instincts and Mel Gibson's all-in performance sell this earnest, straightforward movie.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 23,480


Movie Info

Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with Mel Gibson in The Beaver - an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. 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. -- (C) Summit

PG-13 (for mature thematic material, some disturbing content, sexuality and language including a drug reference)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Aug 23, 2011
Box Office:
Summit Entertainment - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Beaver

All Critics (174) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (104) | Rotten (68) | DVD (6)

It's a bummer of a movie -- dark and at cross-purposes with both itself and any image do-over [Gibson] might be seeking.

Full Review… | October 7, 2011
Top Critic

Beyond the initial idea, this is kid gloves filmmaking, when what we need is a bit more of the gloves-off stuff.

Full Review… | June 15, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

The acting throughout -- Foster, Lawrence, Yelchin -- is superb, and this may well be Gibson's finest performance, just as it's Foster's most balanced job of directing.

Full Review… | May 20, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

The film is amusing, then melancholy, then weirdly funny, then not. It's a quiet, measured work.

Full Review… | May 20, 2011
Denver Post
Top Critic

With The Beaver, Gibson shows that for all his personal turmoil, he still may have a career in the twilight years.

Full Review… | May 20, 2011
Associated Press
Top Critic

For a film about the real problem of mental illness, it never feels authentic. Depression is not something neatly tied up. If this is meant as an allegory, it's vague and unconvincing.

Full Review… | May 20, 2011
USA Today
Top Critic

Thinks it's a whimsical tale of a man finding himself, but Gibson thinks it's the tale of a man losing his mind.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

Jodie Foster's The Beaver had its moments, but the overall premise just didn't fly. I just couldn't buy the idea of the talking puppet.

Full Review… | June 2, 2013
We Got This Covered

Mel Gibson's last hurrah

Full Review… | January 14, 2013
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

A unique and thoughtful project that showcases a charming, as well as unconventional, character journey -- and one of Gibson's best roles to date.

Full Review… | October 2, 2012

The device of the beaver is a constant distraction from what is otherwise a compelling tale of a man and family in crisis.

Full Review… | February 4, 2012

Sthn trith ths skhnothetikh apopeira, h Jodie Foster akomh den exei piasei thn ennoia toy rakor, alla ayto einai to mikrotero ap' ta problhmata mias dramenti poy pairnei to thema ths katathlipshs arketa elafra, gia na thes na thn aytoktonhseis

Full Review… | September 29, 2011
Movies for the Masses

Moviegoers probably won't be interested in seeing Mel Gibson in an onscreen train wreck that reminds them so much of the mess he's made of his real life.

Full Review… | September 9, 2011
American Profile

Put the puppet back into the dumpster.

Full Review… | August 20, 2011
Cinema Signals

Aside from having a title that turns me into a puerile, sniggering teenager every time I talk about it, The Beaver is a heartbreakingly good movie.

Full Review… | August 11, 2011
The Mercury

Se maneja en el filo entre la comedia absurda y el drama lacrimógeno, una combinación no siempre efectiva. Dentro de un buen elenco se destaca el intento de Mel Gibson por volver a los primeros planos.

Full Review… | August 5, 2011
Uruguay Total

The Beaver makes for a creative portrayal of mental illness, and of family life around those who live in the dark, reaching a fine balance of drama and comedy.

Full Review… | August 5, 2011

Jodie Foster's The Beaver is a film about mental illness that, refreshingly, isn't like most films about mental illness.

Full Review… | August 3, 2011

Mel Gibson is quite wonderful as Walter and it's to Foster's credit that she is able to balance the serious with the bizarre so convincingly.

Full Review… | August 3, 2011
At the Movies (Australia)

The Beaver is one of the strangest and most inconsistent dramas in recent years.

Full Review… | August 3, 2011
Cinema Autopsy

This is a wholly wasted opportunity for Gibson -- and a disappointing misfire from Foster.

Full Review… | August 1, 2011
Sydney Morning Herald

It is a totally manufactured product, this film, completely free of sincerity and reality

Full Review… | July 31, 2011
Urban Cinefile

There's a strong and positive sub-text to the story, offering a depth of understanding to an often considered subject that is taboo. But whether audiences will buy Gibson talking with the hand is another question

Full Review… | July 31, 2011
Urban Cinefile

A heartfelt and compassionate portrait of mental illness.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011

Jodie Foster invites us to laugh at this guy who talks through a puppet, then scolds us for doing so.

Full Review… | July 5, 2011
Film Snobs

Audience Reviews for The Beaver


As debuts go, Jodie Foster has done pretty well, especially as she co-stars in it too. She could have taken the story and really schmaltzed it up or turned it into an awful physical slap-stick comedy - missing the point entirely. She knew what she was doing and she achieved it, not perfectly but at the required level. I do feel sorry for her though, as this film should and would have done better had it not have been for Mel Gibson's public downfall. I'm not judging this film based on Mr. Gibson's personal views though, I'm basing it on his performance and I have to say, it's one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. I exaggerate not. To do what he did convincingly takes pure talent; it might be overlooked now but I have no doubt that this will be regarded as a future classic - A contemporary Harvey even. It's just a shame then that he is somewhat let down by his younger co-stars who are given far too much screen time considering their (lack of) talent. Ignore them though, Gibson's performance alone rockets this films rating to a nearly perfect 4 and a half stars!

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Firmly directed by Jodie Foster and with a heartfelt performance by Gibson, this is an interesting drama about a depressed man suffering from schizophrenia and projecting part of his personality into a puppet. Even so, the script is unfocused and has an easy, sappy conclusion.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Thanks to Foster's directing, there is a superb balance between a serious drama and a dark comedy. This makes 'The Beaver' both an enjoyable and emotional movie. Along with strong performances by Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, this film really does make you aware of how easily depression can have an impact on families. Overall 'The Beaver' shows that Foster still makes a promising director, along with Gibson still capable of having a strong leading role.

Samuel Riley
Samuel Riley

Super Reviewer

What a surprise! I was not expecting to like this movie, but I did. Quite a bit! Very quirky. Rather dark. Some well placed humor, at times..but mostly sad, touching, and very well done. Jodie Foster is an exceptional director, in my opinion. The whole thing even made me forget that I dislike Mel now. He did a great job, I have to admit. It must have taken a lot of courage to attempt a comeback in a quirky movie like this. I think that he pulled it off quite well....

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

The Beaver Quotes

So, while everything may not always be okay, one thing I know is true: You do not have to be alone.
– Submitted by Eizen B (2 years ago)
Meredith Black:
I came to the party late, but I have never seen anything else that was me, as close as me.
– Submitted by Kirk T (2 years ago)
Walter Black:
People seem to love a train wreck when it's not happening to them.
– Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
Walter Black:
Starting over isn't crazy. Crazy is being miserable and walking around half asleep, numb, day after day after day. Crazy is pretending to be happy. Pretending that the way things are is the way they have to be for the rest of your bleeding life.
– Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)

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