In it, Gibson plays Walter Black, a toy company CEO whose struggles with depression have left him bedridden for two years, whereupon his wife, Meredith (Jodie Foster, who also directed the film), finally kicks him out. He heads for a hotel, but not before stopping at a liquor store, where he comes upon a beaver hand puppet, which he throws in his trunk along with his booze.After a night of blackout drinking, Walter is awakened by the angry, British-accent growl of The Beaver, the hand puppet, who hits him with some tough love.
Gibson gives arguably the best performances of his career in “The Beaver,” one that was surely fueled in part by the personal problems that have far overshadowed his talents for the past several years. The rage in The Beaver’s voice is matched only by the desperation in Walter’s face—they are a man and a puppet teetering on the brink. It’s the kind of courageous turn that would be accompanied by Oscar buzz if it were anybody but Gibson…
There was a lot of talk last summer about how Gibson’s most recent personal troubles had doomed this film that had been so hotly anticipated. But that was nonsense—a film has to be heroically wretched to never see the light of day once it’s done, which this film is most definitely not. However, Gibson’s stain will likely keep “The Beaver” from getting the kind of audience it and his work deserve.
The whole piece is here.