The Beaver

December 8, 2012 - Jodie Foster directed and co-stars in this film that falls into the category of "Films that are Better than They Sound." Mel Gibson stars. Unfortunately, the title and bad publicity surrounding Gibson's personal problems likely factored into the movie's poor performance at the box office. It grossed less than $1 million during its six-week run in theaters. Too bad, because the movie really is pretty good.

Gibson plays Walter Black, a husband, father and head of a toy company. It all sounds great, but Walter has become depressed to the point where he barely speaks and can hardly find the energy to get out of bed. His teenage son worries that he'll end up like Walter, and uses Post-It notes to keep track of the warning signs. His wife (Foster) has stuck with him, but finally, she's had enough and kicks Walter out of the house.

He heads to a motel where he plans to get drunk and kill himself. On the way, he finds a beaver hand puppet in a dumpster and impulsively takes it with him. Turns out that Walter can't even kill himself right. When he wakes up the next morning, the Beaver is on his hand and speaking, in a working class London accent, for Walter. His family's not sure what to make of the Beaver at first, but it seems to be helping Walter, so they go along. The problems start when Walter realizes that the Beaver has taken on a life of its own and that he (Walter) doesn't have much of a say.

Overall review: *** Not a great film, but as mentioned above, it really is pretty good. Gibson is able to take what would seem to be a ridiculous scenario and make it believable. The supporting cast, including Jennifer Lawrence, does well. This film is about much more than a hand puppet. Above all, it's about people finding their voices and realizing that they really do have something worth saying.