The Beaver - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Beaver Reviews

Top Critic
Leah Rozen
TheWrap
October 7, 2011
It's a bummer of a movie -- dark and at cross-purposes with both itself and any image do-over [Gibson] might be seeking.
Top Critic
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
June 15, 2011
Beyond the initial idea, this is kid gloves filmmaking, when what we need is a bit more of the gloves-off stuff.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
May 20, 2011
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 | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
May 20, 2011
The film is amusing, then melancholy, then weirdly funny, then not. It's a quiet, measured work.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
May 20, 2011
With The Beaver, Gibson shows that for all his personal turmoil, he still may have a career in the twilight years.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
May 20, 2011
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 19, 2011
If anyone can see past the suggestive title, the oddball premise and the controversial casting of this film, they might be surprised to find it surprisingly tolerable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
May 19, 2011
Gibson's performance as Walter Black ranks among the best of his career.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 13, 2011
"The Beaver" isn't a perfect film, but it's challenging and original.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 12, 2011
That this ambitious, if deeply odd, film is so compulsively watchable is a credit to Gibson's compelling performances, both as spiritless Walter and the Cockney-accented voice of the tireless title character.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
May 12, 2011
I respected The Beaver for having the conviction to treat mental illness seriously and without compromise. But did it have to be so maudlin, too?
Top Critic
May 6, 2011
In The Beaver, a stately family drama with a black comedy struggling to break free from within, Mel Gibson deploys a seemingly magical hand puppet -- plus more charm than he's allowed out in public in years.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
May 6, 2011
I've rarely seen a movie about severe malcontents that ended on such a note of unearned uplift.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
May 6, 2011
You won't be the only one anticipating a car-crash appeal in The Beaver , that eerie sensation of not being able to look away from catastrophe.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
May 6, 2011
Sure, there's lots of pretense but it's all the wrong kind -- just silliness posing as sensitivity pretending to be art.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
May 6, 2011
If you continue to be fascinated by this talented, volatile, messed-up man, it's worth experiencing what may be Gibson's finest performance to date.
Top Critic
Leonard Maltin
indieWIRE
May 6, 2011
I didn't want to read a word about The Beaver before seeing it, and I'm glad I went in "cold." It's a purposefully odd little film about mental illness and a broken family, made with care and obvious passion by Jodie Foster from a...
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
May 6, 2011
Admittedly, Gibson is very good as the deeply disturbed hero - particularly as he sits alone slugging vodka or mourning the loss of his family's love. But is this really acting? Is it even a performance?
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
May 6, 2011
Though Kyle Killen's script becomes trite and predictable, Gibson delivers in an uncompromising way.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 6, 2011
If you can get past your feelings for the troubled Gibson, you get to watch a high-wire performance of the highest caliber.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jen Chaney
Washington Post
May 6, 2011
Despite some missteps, this film stands as a moving portrait of a husband and father who reclaims his will to live with the unlikely help of a hand puppet. And the main reason it's so moving? Mel Gibson.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
May 6, 2011
The entire cast delivers, but none more so than Gibson.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
May 5, 2011
Delivers more than it promises-namely a performance that draws on exceptional skill as well as what one irresistibly takes to be the real-life anguish of a movie star whose own life has come to ruin.
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
May 5, 2011
This is often quite affecting for its portrait of midlife crisis and Gibson's personal investment in the role.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
May 5, 2011
Is Gibson showing us the character or himself or some combination of the two? You decide. But whoever that is onscreen, it's the saddest man in the world.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
May 5, 2011
None of this sounds as if it should work for a second as drama, so great credit goes to Foster and the cast for keeping the story small, quiet and often very moving.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
May 5, 2011
A promising story about a madman and his puppet fast becomes a trite tale of a father and son as the combustible Mr. Gibson is tamped down...
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
May 5, 2011
This strange, uncertain picture can't be dismissed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
May 5, 2011
"The Beaver" is almost successful, despite the premise of its screenplay, which I was simply unable to accept.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
May 5, 2011
It's unclear what about life or depression Foster and Killen are really saying. A movie about a man hiding behind a puppet is also a story about a movie hiding behind its star.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Tasha Robinson
AV Club
May 5, 2011
While The Beaver starts with Gibson in What Women Want slapstick mode, it eventually goes to such exaggerated, extreme places that it becomes as much of a must-watch train-wreck as Gibson's own real-life situation.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
May 5, 2011
An emotional runaway of a film that carries neither the insight nor the uplift to make the weight of its dark journey worth it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
May 5, 2011
The Beaver is serious about portraying mental illness. And whatever your opinion about Gibson the man, so is Gibson the actor.
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
May 5, 2011
I don't know whether Gibson is Method-acting out of his own psychology or is just a brilliant mimic, but it's tough to resist the conclusion that this guy knows what it's like to look in the mirror and not quite recognize the person he sees there.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
May 4, 2011
Mel Gibson looks like hell in The Beaver. That's a compliment.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
May 4, 2011
Whatever you think of Mr. Gibson, whatever he has lost, he still has talent, and here displays acting of power and resonance. It's a pleasure, for a change, to see the best side of his split personality at work.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
May 4, 2011
Even as Kyle Killen's script becomes ever more implausible and ultimately ridiculous, it's impossible to take your eyes off the screen when the tortured and ill-looking Gibson is center stage.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
May 3, 2011
Viewers will have to check cartloads of baggage upon entering Jodie Foster's courageous, crazy-as-a-loon character study about a man having a major midlife meltdown.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
May 3, 2011
Mel's character isn't on Prozac, but the movie is -- a succession of bland camera setups, cued to a highly conventional score. Would that the direction were half as nutty as the script or as wacked-out as its star!
Top Critic
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
May 2, 2011
...the film has some bristling and moving scenes and certainly ends up being what you'd call a conversation starter.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Eric Kohn
indieWIRE
May 2, 2011
Gibson demonstrates a staunch commitment to his role as an emotionally damaged man driven to excise his troubles by speaking through the titular hand puppet, but the subdued tone brings him down to earth.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
May 2, 2011
As director, Foster, working with Kyle Killen's screenplay, treats the goofy premise with a literal earnestness -- as a family drama about separation and reunion -- that seems all wrong. A little wit would have helped.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
May 2, 2011
The movie's glumness is in synch with Foster's performances over the last decade: It's as if she's decided that acting is something you mature beyond. Which I suspect had a dampening effect on Gibson's performance.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
April 25, 2011
Brilliant film by Jodie Foster, with Oscar-level performances.
| Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
March 21, 2011
Navigates its tricky tone and subject matter in a sweet, memorable fashion.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
March 17, 2011
Less nutty and more moving than its premise suggests, Jodie Foster's on-target dramedy transcends its real-world baggage.
Top Critic
Andrew Barker
Variety
March 17, 2011
[Gibson] delivers a performance very few could pull off as a depressed father who begins communicating through a hand puppet, but Foster doesn't know how to manage it or navigate the script's seismic tonal shifts/