Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    May 5, 2011
    90
    I suppose the perfect ending to the chapter would be to report that The Beaver is a masterpiece. It isn't quite, but it does offer an astonishing and resonant performance by Gibson, who spends most of the movie playing two simultaneous characters, often in the same shot.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jun 24, 2011
    75
    The Beaver also has a tendency to slip around as it finds its footing. But then the powerful third act comes and Foster, with Gibson's help, hits it home.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    May 18, 2011
    75
    An often moving and always disturbing film. Little is explained, motivations aren't explored. We miss them, at times. It's still a film of power, wit and thought-provoking ideas, one well worth seeing.
  4. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    May 12, 2011
    75
    The Beaver isn't a perfect film, but it's challenging and original.
  5. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    May 12, 2011
    75
    That this ambitious, if deeply odd, film is so compulsively watchable is a credit to Gibson's compelling performances, both as spiritless Walter and the Cockney-accented voice of the tireless title character.
  6. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 6, 2011
    75
    This bizarre little movie is all over the place as drama - but genuinely compelling as a one-of-a-kind piece of public self-flagellation.
  7. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    May 6, 2011
    75
    The Beaver is at its core a classically Oedipal tale. While one son angles in all the wrong ways for his abject father's attention, another engages in a heroic struggle with his abusive bully of a dad.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    May 5, 2011
    75
    The Beaver, directed by Jodie Foster from a script by fearless first-timer Kyle Killen, is operating on a plane far above multiplex formula. This flawed but heartfelt movie has the power to sneak up and floor you.
  9. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    May 4, 2011
    75
    Whatever you think of Mr. Gibson, whatever he has lost, he still has talent, and here displays acting of power and resonance. It's a pleasure, for a change, to see the best side of his split personality at work.
  10. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    May 3, 2011
    75
    With tightly controlled performances and uniquely eccentric events, The Beaver is mainly undone by the lack of a satisfying outcome.
  11. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 19, 2011
    70
    Gibson's performance, at times subtle, at times showy and never less than remarkable, is what makes The Beaver worth seeing.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    May 5, 2011
    70
    Bizarre and belabored, yet grimly fascinating.
  13. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    May 5, 2011
    70
    Most of the observations about suburban malaise (down to the Ayn Rand-style, self-empowering "solutions") suggest "American Beauty." Yet this is often quite affecting for its portrait of midlife crisis and Gibson's personal investment in the role.
  14. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    May 5, 2011
    70
    Foster's performance is crisp and forthright and surprisingly moving. There's something affecting about watching this disciplined, no-nonsense actress deliver her lines to a hand puppet - she's always game, if not exactly relaxed.
  15. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    May 5, 2011
    70
    The Beaver is serious about portraying mental illness. And whatever your opinion about Gibson the man, so is Gibson the actor.
  16. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    May 2, 2011
    70
    A risky bet that pays off solidly, Jodie Foster's much-delayed The Beaver survives its life/art parallels -- thanks to its star, Mel Gibson -- to deliver a hopeful portrait of mental illness that is quirky, serious and sensitive.
  17. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    May 5, 2011
    67
    While The Beaver starts with Gibson in "What Women Want" slapstick mode, it eventually goes to such exaggerated, extreme places that it becomes as much of a must-watch train-wreck as Gibson's own real-life situation.
  18. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    May 4, 2011
    67
    This is high-quality work from a professional (Gibson) who, news reports have suggested, has recently sunk to terrible lows in his nonprofessional life.
  19. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jun 18, 2011
    63
    The film has a huge heart, and it's in the right place.
  20. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    May 19, 2011
    63
    The story lacks honesty. For a film about the real problem of mental illness, it never feels authentic. Depression is not something neatly tied up. If this is meant as an allegory, it's vague and unconvincing.
  21. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    May 5, 2011
    63
    In a triumph of cinema over celebrity gossip, The Beaver mostly makes us forget about Gibson's madman persona and simply draws us into the story that he and director Jodie Foster, who also plays Walter's wife, Meredith, want to tell.
  22. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    May 5, 2011
    63
    Director Jodie Foster's film reasserts the feverish, defiant, often gripping talent of actor Mel Gibson.
  23. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    May 5, 2011
    63
    As good as Gibson is, his character is still caught between the tragedy of the man and the absurdity of the Beaver. Fugitive thoughts of SeƱor Wences crept into my mind. I'm sorry, but they did.
  24. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Jun 18, 2011
    60
    An awkward stew between "American Beauty" and "Harvey" that only touches a nerve at the eleventh hour.
  25. Reviewed by: William Thomas
    Jun 13, 2011
    60
    Don't expect the puppet to wisecrack - there's more pain here than in "The Passion Of The Christ." It never quite comes together in a satisfying way, but it's still a brave, strange, brain-stirring piece of filmmaking.
  26. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    May 6, 2011
    60
    Oddly engrossing, off-kilter drama.
  27. Reviewed by: David Fear
    May 3, 2011
    60
    Gibson simply turns his signature righteous rage into a crushing inward sorrow-Sad Max?-and Foster boldly plays everything straight, rendering her actor's unnerving turn to mania (and a pitch-black third act) with zero tongue-in-cheek.
  28. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    May 18, 2011
    50
    The Beaver plays like a thickly veiled confessional and plea for forgiveness. It's too creepy for comfort.
  29. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    May 12, 2011
    50
    The storyline would appear trite and the message muddled even to someone who'd never heard the name Mel Gibson.
  30. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 12, 2011
    50
    I respected The Beaver for having the conviction to treat mental illness seriously and without compromise. But did it have to be so maudlin, too?
  31. 50
    Clearly, the screenplay is looking for some black comedy here, but Foster's direction is too earnest to locate it.
  32. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    May 5, 2011
    50
    An emotional runaway of a film that carries neither the insight nor the uplift to make the weight of its dark journey worth it.
  33. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    May 5, 2011
    50
    Nasty, brutish and as cuddly as a crusty old sock fished out of a sewer, the beaver or the beav, as I like to think of him, owns the film.
  34. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    May 5, 2011
    50
    The most provocative thing about The Beaver is the adult-movie title. The film itself is alternately fascinating and dull, though mostly the latter.
  35. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    May 5, 2011
    50
    Foster commendably stretches beyond her comfort zone with The Beaver, but in the end the film's high-concept premise is at war with its conventional direction.
  36. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    May 3, 2011
    50
    Perhaps that's the problem. Mel's character isn't on Prozac, but the movie is-a succession of bland camera setups, cued to a highly conventional score. Would that the direction were half as nutty as the script or as wacked-out as its star!
  37. 50
    Gibson is better in the later scenes, when Walter tries to escape the Beaver's nefarious influence. And Gibson's never bad. It's just that we know how much is missing. As a raging nutcase, he's capable of so much more.
  38. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    May 2, 2011
    50
    The troubled actor delivers a performance very few could pull off as a depressed father who begins communicating through a hand puppet, but Foster doesn't know how to manage it or navigate the script's seismic tonal shifts, and ends up producing a film that's deeply strange, yet incapable of leaving an impression.
  39. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 6, 2011
    42
    Foster seems blinkered and tone-deaf to what's actually appearing onscreen.
  40. Reviewed by: David Denby
    May 2, 2011
    40
    As director, Foster, working with Kyle Killen's screenplay, treats the goofy premise with a literal earnestness-as a family drama about separation and reunion-that seems all wrong. A little wit would have helped.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
  1. May 6, 2011
    10
    I've always known Mel Gibson was a talented actor but I had no idea to what degree until I saw this film. His portrayal of Walter Black is ineffably poignant and Oscar worthy in my humble opinion. Kudos to Jodie Foster for pulling off a film that took great courage to make. Full Review »
  2. May 6, 2011
    10
    Personally, I'm tired of all the hypocritical and gratuitous Mel Gibson bashing. I really enjoyed this film and highly recommend it to anyone that is tired of the typical Hollywood fare. Full Review »
  3. May 6, 2011
    9
    I went to go see this movie because I'm a Jodie Foster fan but what really impressed me was Mel Gibson. There is already some preliminary Oscar buzz surrounding Mel's performance which is little surprise after seeing what he invested in this very unusual role. Full Review »