Mel Gibson gives a touching performance in this heartfelt and intriguing story, directed by Jodie Foster. He plays Walter Black, a severely depressed man. Therapy, medication and self-help books have failed to cure him.
When his long-suffering wife Meredith (Jodie Foster) finally kicks him out he fully intends to kill himself, but the discovery of a beaver hand puppet in a dumpster miraculously gives him a new lease of life.
This film can be disconcerting to watch as Walter assumes a cockney accent and requests people address the beaver rather than speak to him. It’s clear from early on the beaver can’t be a long-term solution to Walter’s problems. You want to believe it’s the spark he needs to drag himself out of his melancholy, but you start to fear that rather than being a sign of recovery, the beaver is a symptom of Walter sinking deeper into psychosis.
The Beaver is film that at times will have you laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of it, but also does not shy away from the awful heartbreak of mental illness, both for the person affected and the people who love them.