Review of The Beaver

Image courtesy of Imdb

Walter is a CEO of a failing toy company, depressed, suicidal, and losing his family.  He has tried everything but nothing seems to work.  His family has thrown him out and in a pit of despair he tries to kill himself.  His subconscious creates an alter ego who speaks through a beaver puppet that he found in a dumpster.  Through the puppet he needs to communicate how he is feeling before it is too late.

I was lucky enough to get some free tickets to see an advance screening of this movie tonight and was quietly surprised.  At first I was dubious about the movie simply because Mel Gibson was in it.  Normally if I don’t like an actor in real life I will refuse to see their movies, my little personal protest at a person’s behaviour.  But it was free!  My second reason for being a bit wary about the movie was the subject matter.  Depression is no laughing matter (pardon the pun) and I wasn’t really in the mood for a sad movie (but it was free).  So I gathered a girlfriend and we braved the cold on a mid week screening to see ‘The Beaver’

I must say I was pleasantly surprised with this movie.  I didn’t expect to like it so had no idea what it was really about.  The subject matter of depression and mental illness was handled with humour and pathos and yes I did have a bit of a cry.  There were times that the movie moved a little slowly but overall it was well paced.  I felt for the characters, although Jodi Foster’s character was a little surface, maybe because she was directing it as well she deliberately made her character fade into the background.

I hate to admit this but Mel Gibson definitely proved why he is a famous actor.  He played a difficult role well and made me feel for his character.  The only thing that annoyed me was where the hell did that accent come from?  Why would a middle class American suddenly speak Cockney?  And how the hell would he know how to speak Cockney?  No explanation was made and it continued to bug me all the way through.  Maybe that was the only foreign accent Mel could do?  No that is not right because he can surely do an Australian accent.  Anyway, it made it easy to determine who was speaking, whether it be Walter or the Beaver.

Walter’s relationships with his family and at his work once the beaver was in control provided both funny moments and moments of pure pain as we watch his descent into madness.  The culmination was both shocking and eye opening and made me appreciate the pain families go through when their loved ones have a mental illness.

I recommend this movie, it was thought provoking, entertaining and you can have a bit of a cry.  Also you can check out Jennifer Lawrence who will be starring in the upcoming Hunger Games