When it's over, this was one of those films I chose to watch solely based on the director. Director and Actress Jodi Foster manages to hook me with her sensitive, yet bold, storytelling of a fragmented family trying to find its way back together. The Beaver is a very small film with a very small budget, but it has huge heart. It tells the story of Walter Black, a father and a once successful businessman, played by Mel Gibson, who suffers from mental illness. Not only does Walter's severe depression and anxiety spill into his family and professional life, it ultimately pushes him to the brink of suicide, until he finds The Beaver, a raggedly puppet who becomes his sole means of communicating. At first, the idea of The Beaver serving as a conduit for a cure or solution or voice seemed rather unconventional, but within 15 minutes into the film, I was sold on the idea that the Beaver represented an alternate personality - a suppressed voice Walter needed in order to survive. The Beaver became a character and took on the manifestations of the good and the bad that lied within Walter, and in many ways, all of us. Great performances from the whole cast: Gibson who takes on the double role of Black and The Beaver; Foster playing the loving supportive wife who is at her wits end; Anton Yelchin is very convincing as the troubled teen son, Porter Black, who helps others find a voice, and yet, cannot find his own; 8 year old, Riley Thomas Stewart portrays Henry Black, the representation of innocence, joy, honesty, and unconditional love; and finally, budding actress, Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful to watch as the high school valedictorian who has everything, but secretly tries to cope with her own family tragedy.
My rating: 4 out of 5
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