It only takes one quick superficial glance at this DVD case to immediately determine it’s a comedy… And only one glance to be completely wrong about The Beaver. While it harbors moments of dark humor, it is a film about depression and a man who deals with it in a very odd manner…. by letting a puppet take over his life with a British accent.
Before The Beaver, audiences hadn’t seen Mel Gibson in front of the camera for several years, and it’s probably best with all the bad press he’s gotten as his private life has bled over into the news. But what can’t be denied is that he is a great actor – personal life aside.
In The Beaver, Mel plays the lead character Walter, and when Walter hits rock bottom – it’s an old hand-puppet that comes to his rescue. Walter finds solace hiding behind the toy and letting it do all the talking for him. He can remain detached this way, and handle his professional life and personal life in a way that he as himself just simply couldn’t. His relationship improves with his wife (played by director Jodie Foster) and his children, and things couldn’t be better at work either – they’ve just released a new toy and it’s making all the difference with the company’s finances. But Walter can’t hide behind the puppet forever, and when he is forced to change the real darkness sets in for the film.
I did find The Beaver to be original, well-acted, and entertaining, yet for some reason it just didn’t feel authentic. The ending ties everything up a little too neatly for such a deeply rooted issue, and my final thoughts on the film matched that of the theme the movie kept reiterating – Everything was just OK.
Review By: Emma Loggins