User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 71
  2. Negative: 11 out of 71

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  1. May 6, 2011
    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.
  2. May 6, 2011
    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.
  3. May 6, 2011
    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.
  4. May 6, 2011
    When it comes to Mel Gibson, there seems to be a ton of hate masqerading as righteous indignation these days. Quite honestly, this is an excellent film and I hope that people don't let the controversy surrounding Gibson's personal life get in the way of appreciating an exceedingly well crafted story that deserves to be seen.
  5. May 6, 2011
    This movie title is misleading. It's nothing like I thought it was going to be. It's not about the beaver at all. And I watched the entire thing, hoping. Buncha crap.
  6. May 8, 2011
    Why isn't this movie playing in more theaters? I had to drive two hours just to see it but I must say the trip was worth it. Jodie Foster is an awesome director and actress. Her screen chemistry with Mel Gibson is undeniable as these two were both great in Maverick together as well.
  7. Feb 5, 2012
    Quite understandably for a film about the affects of depression, The Beaver isn't the most cheerful viewing experience. Yes there is the odd laugh to be had, but generally, it maintains a rather, dark, sombre tone throughout. Mel Gibson, in one of the finest, most complex and pitch-perfect performances of his career, plays Walter Black, a seriously depressed owner of a toy company who uses a battered old beaver hand puppet as an outlet to communicate with the world, and as a tool to escape from the clutches of depression. Gibson handles the role with great respect for the subject matter, never over-playing the oddness of his character, but sensitively acknowledging Walter's problems and the only way he is able to deal with them. The rest of the cast also make their mark on the film, with Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence all impressing as Walter's increasingly frustrated wife Meredith, his alienated and depressed eldest son Porter, and Norah, the secretive and troubled romantic interest of Porter respectively. While the main focus of the story is Walter dealing with depression, the side-plots involving the other core characters are all compelling, and all add extra depth to the story. Jodie Foster's minimalistic but highly competent direction, and Kyle Killen's honest and emotive screenplay also help to make the film hugely enjoyable. My only real criticism of The Beaver is the jarringly over-the-top and unnecessarily rushed final act. Here, the usually level-headed Foster seems determined to tie up all loose ends as quickly as possible whilst giving the film a shock ending, which it really doesn't need. Up until this point, The Beaver's leisurely pace and very gradual development of its characters were what made it work as a film, and the sudden change of pace and tone doesn't quite fit with what came before. Despite this, The Beaver remains a brave, intelligent, and unconventional family drama, with a bit of black comedy thrown in, that deals with an often ignored or misunderstood subject with real care and insight. It's just such a tragedy this project surfaced when it did, as I'm sure it would have received more recognition had Mel Gibson not provoked such controversy in the headlines in recent years. This should have been the crowning glory of his hugely varied career, not his apology to the world. Expand
  8. May 6, 2011
    Piece of crud film due to casting Mel G. Sad that Jodie Foster cast such an idiot in what would be an otherwise good film. Mel is a total freak and anti-semite, who should never be in any film again.
  9. May 10, 2011
    Went into this flick really lookiing forward to finally Jodie Foster's Beaver after all this time. And what did I get? A boring character study of some middle aged a**hole with a glove puppet. This is How NOT to sell a movie.
  10. May 11, 2011
    I am not a doctor. So you should take what Iâ
  11. May 13, 2011
    This film shatters many of the preconceptions and clichés about depression. Definitely a pleasant departure from most of the formulaic garbage that is out there at the moment. This review pretty much says it all:
  12. May 17, 2011
    Titles are so important! This is an very original and wonderful film that is unfortunately saddled with a very frivolous sounding title. It sounds silly and cartoonish (though not inappropriate) and is therefore misleading. This is a serious and very well acted film that alas, will do poor box office. Too bad. A better title would have helped.
  13. Jun 11, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "You take everyone's suffering and turn it into gold," Lucy complains to her misanthropic brother-in-law, a Phillip Roth-like novelist in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry", and it goes without saying that it's Allen who plays the unscrupulous writer. If read as a coded apology to his former lover, the line then becomes tantamount to a mea culpa, since in real life, as Allen's fans know, his films often contain autobiographical elements, none more so than "Husbands & Wives", the 1992 psychodrama that arrived in theaters on the heels of the Soon-Yi scandal, in which ardent Woody-philes lined up to go watch their hero work out his relationship issues in a diegesis fraught with transparency, unbeknownst to Mia Farrow, the filmmaker's live-in lover, whose adopted daughter he started sleeping with. Farrow's situation was unprecedented and unenviable, a celluloidal public humiliation perpetuated by Allen in a film where he lies self-referentially toward questions pertaining to fidelity. Playing Gabe to Farrow's Judy, the literature professor tells the wife that his young female students "don't want an old man." Attracted to what a friend describes as "kamikaze women"(a reference to Previn's Asian background), Gabe Roth pursues a younger woman, a promising student writer(played by Juliette Lewis), who in a self-revelatory scene at a taxi dispatch office, is seen retrieving a lost manuscript alongside Allen through tinted glass with an ominous "Beware of the Dog" sign pointedly hanging out front, as a sort of stealth warning to Farrow about his unforgivable betrayal that would soon be coming to light. In "Bullets Over Broadway", Allen fatuously declares that "an artist creates his own moral universe." Three years later, the amoralist, in a more humble and contrite mode, as Harry Block, admits that he "can't function well in life but can in art," words which never rang truer for Mel Gibson, who during production on "The Beaver", exercised his right as an artist to create his own circle of hell. Same as the Allen film, the appeal of this curio by the former Clarice Sterling lies in its baggage, which in this case, comes in the form of those infamous phone calls that a very drunk Gibson placed to his Russian girlfriend, which in turn, transforms ordinary scenes into confessional performance art, such as the one where Walter Black, using the dissociate hand puppet to perform an intervention on himself, given the context of his personal life, becomes a real self-introspective moment, therefore blurring the line between drama and documentary. When the beaver tells the depressed CEO of a successful toy company to "blow up" his life and "start again", he might as well be talking to Gibson himself, who apparently took the hand puppet's advice as motivation to blow up at Grigorieva over a series of menacing wireless exchanges; at one point telling the mother of his child that if she "gets raped by a pack of n******, it's your fault." Is it possible that the actor, under the influence of alcohol and, perhaps, the devil, could no longer make the distinction between where make-believe ended and real life began? When Gibson assaulted Grigorieva in their home(alluded to in the tapes where he hits the accomplished pianist in the face while holding Gibson's child), it's as if he was following the beaver's instructions to "blow up the whole bloody building." And yet, in spite of the tapes, people still tolerate him, boorish behavior and whatnot, as evidenced by he hero's welcome he received at the most-recent Cannes Film Festival where "The Beaver" had its world premiere. If you're a celebrity, or a person with the clout to wield power, like Gibson's counterpart Walter Black, the face of a multi-million corporation, you can get away with murder, or the considerably lesser crime of addressing your employees in tandem with a movable piece of anthropomorphic fabric. Surrendering control to the beaver, Walter's alter-ego, who carries "the negative aspects of his personality", rescues the slumping toy manufacturer by rolling out the improbably popular "Mr. Beaver's Woodcutting Kit", a product that has the metaphorical possibilities of being the Gibson-directed fluke hit "The Passion of the Christ". After all, the toy comes complete with a hammer(present during the crucifixion scene) and a chisel, which when used in concert with the hammer on the kit-supplied block of wood, a child could then produce a cross. "The Beaver", when all is said and done, allows Gibson to skirt personal responsibility and blame the reviled film and his domestic violence tendencies against women on a doppleganger. As an apology of sorts for all his past transgressions, in typical Gibson style, Walter tortures himself, cutting off his own hand with a bandsaw. The real Mel Gibson didn't call his girlfriend a c*** and a w****, or blame the Jews for killing Christ. That was the puppet talking. Expand
  14. Jul 27, 2011
    Outstanding and charismatic performance by The Beaver, and also Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. Beautifully directed, touching story, but not enough satisfying. Screen become black when outstanding trio are going off.
  15. Aug 7, 2011
    The Beaver is strange, different and pretty complex. So complex that this film will go over a lot of people's heads. It tries to grab the charm of indie film however it never truly feels indie. The Beaver tries way to hard to grab ahold of deep means and because of this it falls short on my levels.
  16. Aug 23, 2011
    Although I was expecting a little more, and something a little different, I very much enjoyed this film. When you have great actors like Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster in a film, it's really hard not to like it.
  17. Sep 12, 2011
    Disturbing, emotional, and deeply hilarious, the Beaver is one of those films that nobody sees, but when they do it surpasses all expectations and is truly brilliant. Dramatic, well written, and moving, The Beaver is flawed barely, the only issue being the fact that motives are never explained.
  18. Sep 17, 2011
    Mel Gibson is many things. Be them a little nuts or just plain silly but it cannot be argued that he isn't an incredibly talented actor. Walter Black may well be his best character as he skillfully portrays him as someone clearly searching for the light at the end of the tunnel as it keeps getting further away due to his imploding family. However its not just Gibson who is excellent with both Jennifer Lawrence and Anton Yelchin giving sensational performances as people bubbling under the surface, unable to express the pain within. The film isn't meant to raise the roof so it doesn't aspire to but a little more acceptance of the ludicrous nature of the story could have helped lighten what can be seen as a maudlin ending while still providing something to think about when you finish. Expand
  19. Nov 4, 2011
    Something weird and crazy movie, but it keeps you wondering how to finish this story about a very dysfunctional family does not really disappoint me, moved me and really makes me think of how we treat people around us, and feel their problems and weaknesses. very good, and who does not like this movie is a **** beaver
  20. Dec 6, 2011
    This film gets a lot of heat but my god is it good, One of the most underrated films out there. Gibson is at his peak in this film and it shows through out, The rest of the film is good as well. The only bad things about it is that its a bit predictable and straight forward, Besides that - Its great.
  21. Feb 20, 2012
    I really liked this movie. Im not saying its great but its a good film and well worth the watch. Mel Gibson does an amazing job in this film, Same goes for the rest of the cast. The main plot is fine and interesting but the side plots to the film are rather generic and definently hurt the overall value of the movie imo. However, I still enjoyed watching it and I am sure others would as well.
  22. Mar 24, 2012
    Rented The Beaver from the local RedBox because there was nothing else to watch and I was amazed how good this film is. To be honest, it was far better than The Descendants with George Clooney. Both films are similar in that they deal with issues of depression and the struggle for identity. What I find weird is that Mel Gibson's performance in The Beaver is unlike anything I have seen in recent years but George Clooney's performance in The Descendants is pretty bland. Gibson should have at least been nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar for his heartfelt and unnerving portrayal of Walter Black but I guess Mel has been ostracized by the Hollywood clique so no chance of that. Expand
  23. Mar 26, 2012
    The movie has an interesting message, something that is not seen very often. It copes with depression and the struggles that a family goes through. It shows that depression isnâ
  24. Mar 30, 2012
    The Beaver is actually a decent movie. Some slow parts here and there but Mel Gibson gives and exceptional performance along with Jodie Foster. A good but very sad movie.
  25. Apr 2, 2012
    The movie was good. Mel Gibson was a total psycho( like that was a surprise). Acting was quite good by everybody. It was a good indie movie that told a nice message in a weird way.
  26. Jun 29, 2012
    This film misses the mark by a margin that should have never happened, considering those involved. It could have been a brilliantly witty and powerful insight into mental disorder, instead it seems rushed and at times a little trite.

    I have no idea if the studio ran this through a focus group, probably, but it seems to be missing a good twenty minutes to half an hour. Was it left on the
    cutting room floor as a result, I have no idea, but it certainly feels like it. The opportunity of establishing the characters at the start, a slower, more measured look at the breakdown of Gibson's character, it's effect on his family and their breakup and a little more on his son's love interests loss, would all have contributed to a much better experience for the audience.

    Mel Gibson's portrayal is good to a point, which is down to the script more than anything
    and the lackluster direction, which very un-Jodi Foster like. Would I recommend it? Yes, but with the caveat that it's a half decent, made for TV movie.
  27. Oct 16, 2012
    I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, but then again my expectations were not the highest. Initial ratings of this movie made it seem like it was going to be a boring ride through the mind of a depressed man, and instead i found a movie that was very well written up to certain points. Mel Gibson gives an extremely good performance that is believable and makes you generally care for him. His portraying of "the beaver" is above expectations for someone having to give his feelings through a puppet. The writing is great, but only to a certain point. The main characters raise from depression and the banter from the beaver is excellent, but the fall back gets sloppy. The problems with the eldest son seem forced, and his performance is overshadowed greatly by Mel Gibson. There is a point where i thought the story was coming to an end, but then a "shocking" point occurred to keep it going, but it was way too forced. It felt unnecessary, just a way to keep things going and make people think, but in the wrong way. I still found it a good movie, better than most stories about a depressed guy with a puppet...but Mel Gibson knocks it out of the park and his plight seems genuine until the writing gets forced. Go check it out, you might be shocked and actually like it. Expand
  28. Dec 16, 2013
    Normal movie. Its interesting besides sometimes it gets confusing, weird and unclear, but at the end it leaves a nice message to the viewer. As always, I really liked Jennifer Lawrence's performance.
  29. Nov 14, 2014
    Do not be decieved, this is not a comedy about a puppet beaver or something like that. This is a serious and sad movie about a terminally depressed man. Can't say this is a masterpiece, but still a good one.

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: Mike Scott
    Jun 24, 2011
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Jun 18, 2011
    An awkward stew between "American Beauty" and "Harvey" that only touches a nerve at the eleventh hour.
  3. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jun 18, 2011
    The film has a huge heart, and it's in the right place.