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The Beaver

Directed by Jodie Foster

Walter Black is depressed. He should be. The toy manufacturing business he inherited is going under. His teen son Porter (Anton Yelchin) despises him and his wife Meredith (Jodie Foster, also directing) has lost all patience with him. Walter is such a loser he can't even manage his own suicide. But then he finds the Beaver, a ragged hand puppet. He slips the puppet on and it begins talking to him in a poor British/Australian accent, spouting self-help advice and bootstrap-lifting inspiration. Walter suddenly finds the energy and hope he'd lost. Always wearing and speaking through the puppet, he convinces people it's a new form of therapy a doctor has assigned him. Soon the Beaver takes over Walter's life, all to the apparent good. Business is booming, Walter's reconnecting with his youngest son (Riley Thomas Stewart) and even making love (with Beaver in hand) to his somewhat perplexed wife. But Porter, whose so afraid of being like his father that he scribbles their similarities on post-it notes that decorate his bedroom wall like warnings, isn't buying into the Beaver. He's busy convincing the school's perfect cheerleader-type (Jennifer Lawrence) to let her artistic freak flag fly high. At first, "The Beaver" seems like a sad sack comedy, but Foster makes sure its dark undercurrent eventually takes over. This isn't a look at a wacky family, it's an exploration of mental illness and the way it can wrench a family. 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. The question haunting this fine film is whether audiences can see past Gibson's publicized personal problems of late and appreciate the movie. But this is a film about mental illness, after all; what role would better suit Mel these days? Courtesy Tom Long, The Detroit News Official Trailer
Showtimes: 

No screenings currently scheduled.

Directed by: 
Jodie Foster
Running Time: 
90
Country(ies): 
U.S.A.
Language: 
English
Starring: 
Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence
Screenplay by: 
Kyle Killen

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