Directed by and starring Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson is back on form in The Beaver.
Director: Jodie Foster
Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin
The US release of The Beaver was overshadowed somewhat by the troubles of Mel Gibson, who seems to have a habit of getting caught on tape ranting at people in a provocative and unpleasant manner. How ironic that in the third film directed by the two-time Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster, he should play Walter Black, the boss of a toy factory who is suffering from depression and is unable to communicate with the world. His solution is to put a beaver puppet on his left hand and talk like a ventriloquist. Strangely, the puppet gives him a confidence and zest for life he had thought he had lost, and he is able to reconnect with his wife (Foster) and youngest child. However, he has less luck with his teenage son Porter (Yelchin) who has been making a list of all the habits he shares with his father so that he can lose them himself. The film splits into two love stories, the one between husband and wife and the budding romance between Porter and the high-school cheerleader Norah (Jennifer Lawrence). Walter doesn't hide his puppet from the public at large. Indeed, when his toy company makes a surprising business recovery, Walter becomes a star and appears with the beaver on TV chat shows. Foster shows great skill in ensuring that this strange, quirky picture resonates with its tale of love, mental illness and family rivalry. Gibson gives his best performance in years, and gives his puppet a voice that sounds just like Ray Winstone in this surprisingly funny and charming comedy.