Iffy for 14+
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
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.
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: 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: 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: 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: Some Apple computers are on display.
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."
Fan Reviews provided by
Brilliant! by sylvia solo
If anyone coul depict the hellish decent into mental illness, it would be Mel! Say what you want about him, but the man is brilliant both as an actor and a director/producer.... I noticed one reviewer said the movie was too "depressing"...HELLLLLLLOOOOO, it's about mental illness....nothing to happy about that but it was portrayed so sensitively, esp by Jodi Foster who plays the long suffering wife.... I can only say GO SEE IT! IMHO
The Beaver by barbaram3
The movie was good, however it was not a movie you want to go to see when you are looking for something to "lift your spirits". It deals with depression and the effect it has on the lives of all it touches, though it does not end with you "in the dumps".
Better than I expceted by DXNYLVR
We really liked this movie. It looked riduculous in the previews but it truly was heartwarming and I thought he acting was superb. Mel Gibson has a rugged personal life but the man can act. Jody Foster was great and I thought the kid who played Porter was excellent. Great movie and I don't know why it's not playing at more mainstream theaters.
The Beaver by corazon7
This is without question one of Mel Gibsons finest movies to date. I was saddened to see that I was one of only four people in the theatre during the showing. The public is in danger of allowing the recent press regarding Mr. Gibson to deprive them of an outstanding film about the effects and outcome of mental illness on a large spectrum of people.This movie had an optimistic conclusion- an unexpected conclusion, but optimistic none the less. I not only enjoyed this movie, but called my daughter in Boston to make sure she saw this feature. She is going to see it today with her friends on my recommendation. Fantastic film! I surely hope that Mr. Gibson and Ms. Foster continue the creative partnership. This film was A+.
Exceeded expectation by whipporwilltoo
I thought everything about this movie was fabulous - the story, the acting and everything. Mel Gibson is truly a great actor as is Jody Foster.