Director: Jodie Foster Stars: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence The Beaver never stood a chance at the box office. The toxic combination of star Mel Gibson’s self-image assassination and a plot about a suicidal father who wears a puppet on his hand and talks in an Australian accent doomed Jodie Foster’s pic months before any critics were able to see it. What a shame—with a marvelous performance from Gibson and an alternately emotional and batshit script, The Beaver is one of the more fascinating movies to come out of Hollywood in quite some time. Hopefully, it’ll have a second life on DVD, at some point in time; it’s too unique and potent to be dismissed for good.
Crazy Mel finds the right balance of pain and weirdness needed to sell all of The Beaver’s storytelling quirks, giving one of his career’s bravest turns. It’s hard not to wonder how different the film’s reception would’ve been had Gibson’s whole “abusive husband tapes” never surfaced online; we’d probably be pondering early Oscar buzz. Or at least a comeback of Mickey Rourke proportions. As is, though, The Beaver’s flop status has driven nails into the former megastar’s big screen coffin. Foster film deserved better.