The Beaver


The Beaver

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 179


Audience Score

User Ratings: 24,021
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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

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Critic Reviews for The Beaver

All Critics (179) | Top Critics (50)

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

    Oct 7, 2011 | Full Review…

    Leah Rozen

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

    Aug 1, 2011 | Rating: 3/10 | Full Review…
  • Contrived, self-admiring and self-pitying, unfunny, burdened with a central performance which is unendurably conceited and charmless.

    Jun 16, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • It's commendable to capture depression on film, but a talking rodent and a fallen star aren't the way to do so.

    Jun 16, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Beyond the initial idea, this is kid gloves filmmaking, when what we need is a bit more of the gloves-off stuff.

    Jun 15, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    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.

    May 20, 2011 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Beaver

  • Jun 30, 2013
    I found this a very dark, moving tale of a man trapped in his own private emotional nightmare who finds a way out that causes every one around him to withdraw. Mel Gibson was superb as the man, Walter Black. When we meet Walter, his business is in the tank, his son hates him, and he finds himself in a pit of depression in which even getting out of bed is an unmanageable chore. He finds a discarded puppet, and through self-therapy begins to find a way forward. If that's all there was to it, this would be pretty light fare. But there are unforeseen obstacles that lead this into ever darker places and becomes a much deeper, and better, film because of it. The acting is superb. Mel Gibson turns in a very believable performance of the man who resorts to extreme measures in order to win his freedom. Jodie Foster, who also directed, plays his bewildered wife; Anton Yelchin is his entrepreneurial son; and Jennifer Lawrence plays an over-achiever dealing with her own demons. I was completely engrossed in this tale and found it one that is not easily dismissed.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2012
    The film was so so. In a weird way, the film kind of reminded me of Ted. The problem that I had with the film is that I felt that Mel Gibson wasn't the right actor for the film. I didn't like his beaver voice either. I think another actor like Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, or Robin Williams could have done a much better job with the role. Also I felt the film was a bit unfocused. I was more fascinated by the Anton Yelchin storyline than the Beaver storyline. Acting wise, Anton Yechln is great as the son of Foster and Gibson. He steals the film. Jennifer Lawrence is great in the film too. She has a great on screen chemistry with Anton. Jodie is ok as Mel's wife. I thought she did an ok job directing.
    Sol C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 24, 2012
    In "The Beaver," Walter Black(Mel Gibson), the CEO of a toy company he inherited from his father, has been feeling so depressed lately that he spends most of his time asleep. In the meantime, his youngest, Henry(Riley Thomas Stewart), has ambitions of becoming invisible one day while teenaged Porter(Anton Yelchin) writes term papers for his fellow students, with his latest assignment being a valedictorian adress for Norah(Jennifer Lawrence), a cheerleader. Walter's wife, Meredith(Jodie Foster, who also directed), an engineer, has had enough and kicks him out of the house. This only makes matters worse as he attempts suicide twice before coming to his senses, more or less, with the help of a hand puppet. Despite having its share of absurd comedy, overall there is nothing funny about the way "The Beaver" delicately handles the sensitive subject of depression and those affected by it but thankfully not in a 'Glee'/PSA sort of way. Here, there are no easy answers with a rollercoaster being a neat metaphor, beyond just how scary they are. In this intimate drama, that's not the only subject under consideration as Norah's parallel story helps explore other lines of thought like finding your own true voice and dealing with impossible expectations, often inherited. And say what you will about Mel Gibson, but I have always felt he is an underrated actor(however, as a director he makes James Cameron look positively nuanced) and he does an excellent job here with very difficult material while Jennifer Lawrence threatens to steal the movie out from under him.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 02, 2012
    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 M Super Reviewer

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