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The Beaver Review Critics


Dave White Profile

The resurrection of Mel G Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Lacks bite. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The story lacks honesty. For a film about the real problem of mental illness, it never feels authentic. Depression is not something neatly tied up. If this is meant as an allegory, it's vague and unconvincing.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    This is high-quality work from a professional (Gibson) who, news reports have suggested, has recently sunk to terrible lows in his nonprofessional life.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Bizarre and belabored, yet grimly fascinating.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    A risky bet that pays off solidly, Jodie Foster's much-delayed The Beaver survives its life/art parallels -- thanks to its star, Mel Gibson -- to deliver a hopeful portrait of mental illness that is quirky, serious and sensitive.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 14 & under

Strange, serious drama is alternately inspiring, appalling.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie about a troubled family (which stars Mel Gibson and was directed by Jodie Foster) is a very strange drama with some comedy elements; it's disturbing in many ways, and while some will find it appalling, others may find it inspiring. A despondent character attempts suicide, and there's a constant, simmering sense of discontent, as well as some moments of fighting and violence. Language includes "s--t," one "f--k," and other words; there's also some teen flirting and minor sex scenes between a husband and a wife. There's one intense scene of drinking, plus prescription drugs and a mention of a teen buying "weed."

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays family relationships. Is this a typical movie family? Do the characters and their interactions seem believable? Relatable?

  • At the height of his depression, Walter drinks lots of alcohol. How does it affect him? What are the real-life consequences of drinking?

  • Did you find the beaver funny or disturbing? Does he help Walter, or does he send Walter down another wrong path?

  • What do you think the movie's ultimate take-away is? What audience is it intended to appeal to?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Walter's behavior is both sad and appalling, and yet it's presented as both funny and entertaining for a large portion of the story, and many characters begin to accept his behavior based on its entertainment value alone. But it's a drastic means to an end, and Walter does eventually begin to work on the root of his problem. Meanwhile, his teen son also has some issues; he does pay for his transgressions (i.e. writing and selling black market papers for his fellow high school students), but everything seems to be solved by meeting the right girl.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Walter may get a few laughs here and there, but his behavior is sad and appalling. Teen son Porter is smart, but he worries that he's too much like his father and that he's begun to head down the wrong path. Both characters eventually straighten out, but it takes a drastic event in one case, and falling in love in the other case, neither of which is particularly empowering.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Characters argue from time to time, and there's a general mood of unease. A teen boy bashes his head against a wall in moments of despair. A couple of brief fight scenes: one in which a father accidentally hits his teen son, and one in which the main character fights with the beaver (i.e. himself), resulting in blood and bruises. The movie leads up to one intense scene, with some off-screen gore.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A husband and wife kiss and have sex in bed (nothing graphic is shown). Oral sex is implied, and the couple is also seen kissing through an opaque shower door. A teen couple flirts and kisses.

  • language false3

    Language: Language includes one "f--k" and several uses of "s--t," plus "goddamn," "hell," "douche," "turd," "balls," "ass," "crap," "bitch," and "Christ." Additionally the beaver uses British slang like "bloody hell," "bum," "sod," and "tart."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Some Apple computers are on display.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character takes prescription drugs for his depression. In one scene, he gets falling-down drunk and tries to commit suicide. The mother is seen drinking wine with dinner. One teen character mentions buying "weed." There's a mention of "nicotine gum."