Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Beaver

I’m going to be straight with you guys. (Aren’t I always?)

I’m not a fan. I used to be, but not anymore. Not for a long time. Mel Gibson just makes me feel sad now. So really, I tend to shy away from his movies. (Also that he hasn't been in anything good for quite some time now.) But I was interested in Jodie Foster’s new picture, The Beaver, enough to put my prejudice aside and check it out.

It’s a bizarre but intriguing concept. Walter has a bit of a psychotic break when he wakes up after a suicide attempt to a beaver puppet on his hand, ordering him to get his life together. And for a time, it works. But then, it becomes plain to see that Walter is having a hard time breaking away from his furry friend. The Beaver wants full control. I won’t divulge anything more but it keeps getting stranger but not really all that strange… does that make any sense?

Anyway, I’d have to say that I didn't love it but it was interesting and worth a watch via the old Netflix. Jodie Foster does a good job. Great cast, good acting, mostly relatable characters, and a lovely little score.  I just think it’s one of those stories that isn’t going to make everyone happy. It’s certainly not going to make millions. But I’m sure that wasn't the point at all. Oh, and did I mention that the film had to be shelved until things calmed down after Gibson’s (alleged) horrifying behavior towards an ex-girlfriend/mother of his child? Was this before or after the drunken anti-semetic rant towards a police officer? Who can remember…

I will say this about Gibson: as a girl who has, in the past, felt that dark cloud over her head, bed, home and heart, I know that look. I know he’s has been to those dark recesses. Face it, if you have hate in your heart, it hurts. I have no doubt that the man has wrestled some inner demons of his own and it comes though in parts of his performance, although I feel that he was trying to fool us.

Still, I was really hoping The Beaver himself was going to be an Aussie instead of British. That would put a whole new psychological spin on stuff.

And to my surprise, Jennifer Laurence plays the son’s love interest, a blond cheerleader with brains. This is of course, before Hunger Games but after Winter’s Bone. She’s just as lovely, just so you know.
In the end, there’s something unsatisfying about it. But that’s life. Depression isn't cured with a hand puppet. Dreams are ruined and can’t ever be put back together. Relationships fall apart and can never be fixed. And your brother doesn't come back from the other side.

Such is life. But that’s the core to the movie. Shit happens, but you don’t have to be alone. Then why do I feel so alone as I watch the credits scroll?

Stephanie Zacharek said it best in her review for Movieline, "I wanted to have sympathy for Walter Black; but to get to him, I had to fight my way past Mel Gibson. When an actor has to make his audience work that hard, it's a liability."


Even if you don’t see the movie, check out this adorable, lovely, sweet and sad PSA from IMALIVE.org about seeking help for depression. You can check it out here.

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