May 29, 2011
The Beaver turned out to be surprisingly moving, not exactly what I was expecting from it. It is not perfect and does ask a lot of the audience in terms of suspension of disbelief. It is a movie caught halfway between the moving and the absurd. It is the sort of project that makes you wonder if it really needed to be made. Granted, that is an argument that could be made for pretty much any movie.
The story centers on Walter Black (Gibson), a man that is lost, helplessly depressed and adrift in his life, not to mention nearly running his company into the ground. He doesnt talk, is listless, and sleeps his days away, much to the chagrin of his wife (Jodie Foster) and his resentful son, Porter (Anton Yelchin). Before long, he is kicked out of his home, buys half a liqur store and attempts to commit suicide. He is interrupted by voice with an improbable cockney accent. It is the voice of a beaver hand puppet.
The voice, of course, is his own, but from an outside perspective. Walter takes to wearing the puppet and having all of his interactions through it. Over the course of the film we get to see him transform, work through his depression and reconnect with his family, but not without a price. I will leave it to you to discover his journey, which is quite interesting if you can get around the issues that the alays present puppet presents.
All around The Beaver is a solid film that benefits from another good Gibson performance and the confident direction from Jodie Foster who keeps the movie roughly on track and never allows it to enter parody, which would likely be easy to do with with the whole puppet beaver thing. There is also a side story involving Yelchin's Porter, he is an angry young man who is scared of becoming his father. His journey takes us away from the main story somewhat but is still interesting.
Great? No. Good? No doubt. This is a solid movie with good performances and a moving story to tell. It is not the comedy it is advertised as, but it is funny. It is well worth checking out.
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 5/29/2011 11:56:00 PM
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.