The bizarre drama The Beaver has people scratching their heads. A movie about a troubled man who befriends a hand puppet? It’s like someone at the studio happened to have a beaver puppet on hand, and they really, really wanted to use it in a movie.
Hollyscoop talked to director Jodie Foster, who said of Gibson’s performance: “He is wonderful in film and I couldn’t be happier with his performance.”
So far, the movie is getting good reviews, and it will surely draw in audiences on its “WTF” factor alone. That factor is reminiscent of a couple of other movies about lonely guys who befriend a creature of their imagination.
In 2007, Ryan Gosling starred in Lars and the Real Girl. The movie was about “a delusional young guy” who “strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet”. Despite its odd premise, the film was praised by critics and patrons alike.
A similar movie that did well was, The Dummy, starring Adrian Brody and Mila Jovovich. The premise was: a shy, unemployed loser becomes a ventriloquist, using the dummy to speak and garner the attention of a crush. People seemed to take to this movie, despite its tagline: The story of a dummy and his man.
I guess the public just has a soft spot for loveable losers who have imaginary friends. When The Beaver debuted at SXSW, critic Neil Miller of Filmschoolrejects.com called it “one of Gibson’s best performances to date.”
“Could it be the best performance we’ve ever seen from him? That’s for history to decide. But this one is damn good. And it’s made better by the well-crafted film that surrounds him.”
But not everyone is impressed. Roger Ebert gave the move 2.5 stars, saying “as good as Gibson is, his character is still caught between the tragedy of the man and the absurdity of the Beaver.”