Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"This movie is a drama."
Jodie Foster (Q&A)

The Beaver

The reason this post is started with that quote is because the advertising around this movie may be a little misleading. Heck, even the poster conveys light comedy. But take it from me, the movie is a serious drama. Yes, there is levity to be found in the film, but it also is frank and honest about depression.

Mel Gibson is the other elephant in the room. Yes, his true life drama has been out of the spotlight for a while now (thanks, Charlie) but sadly still relevant. Although never explicitly mentioned, his recent behavior is the reason the movie was delayed from release.

Overall, I think this is a very good movie. It never pretends that "the beaver" is alive. Most of the interaction between Mel and the puppet are done in a wide shot. You always see his lips moving. He didn't magically become a ventriloquist. He also didn't suddenly develop a multiple personality disorder. This is a man at the end of his rope trying to cope by any means necessary.

Again, I said this movie is not a comedy. That being said, the movie is almost derailed by the comedy of errors that befalls Walter when he reaches the end of his rope early in the film. It struggles to regain tone and has to work hard the rest of the second act to do so. I also have issues with the whole business end of the movie. Not the business of making the movie, but Walter's business. It's almost an afterthought and since it is so slight I could almost seeing it getting cut out and having the film be better for it.

In summation, it is a good movie. I am one who can remove the "Celebrity" from the actor and still enjoy their work. A lot of people will skip this because of the lead actor. I think that would be a mistake. Of course, beware that this movie has tone issues and is all over the place. In spite of that, there are great actors giving great performances here. They are worth checking out.

Jodie Foster was on hand for a Question and Answer session after the film. She was about 10 minutes late, so we had to wait around. No big deal. She mentioned this script was previously on the "Black List" which is a list of the best unproduced screenplays. At one time it was being worked on by Steve Carell and director Jay Roach. They said it was too hard to make so they went to make "Dinner for Schmucks" instead. Jodie Foster was not originally going to play the wife. They were looking for actors when she decided to do it herself. The best part of the night was when the Q & A was over, two security guards swooped in and escorted her out of the theater immediately. I have never seen someone exit so quickly. You would have thought they were taking the president out of there.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?
Probably not. Maybe.

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?
Netflix Instant.

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?


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