Box art for The Beaver

The Beaver

children & family

Walter, once a successful and happy family man, has hit rock bottom.But, in his darkest hour, he finds a rather unusual savior: a beaver hand-puppet that takes over Walter's life in an attempt to change things for the better.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

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."

what families can talk about

  • 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?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 1
    see all The Beaver reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Sure, there's lots of pretense but it's all the wrong kind -- just silliness posing as sensitivity pretending to be art.

- Rick Groen, Globe and Mail, Friday, May 6, 2011

Audience Reviews

1 star

Aside from being incredibly boring, THE BEAVER is an uneven motion picture. Though intended to perform as a look at one man's dreadful state of depression, we often end up getting a completely unrelated view of that man's son's hassle over trying to write his girlfriend's graduation speech. Also, the film flies by in a matter of 90 minutes (thank God), but that amount of time didn't seem to be quite enough to propel it much further than the point at which it started. Not to mention, the ending is quite predictable. THE BEAVER does not work well as a comedy, nor does it meet up to the sufficiency of a drama. The humor here is quite commonplace and along the lines of what we would expect for a movie about a disturbed family man (i.e. "Today at school, a bully threw me into a dumpster." "What did your teacher do about it?" "She got me out of the dumpster."), and if that's your kind of humor, go right ahead with this one. THE BEAVER strives to be poignant, but can you really expect to be moved by a movie about a crazy guy who talks by using a puppet? Think about it and decide. Ranked #5 worst of 2011.

- spielberg00, Saturday, March 24, 2012

4 stars

As debuts go, Jodie Foster has done pretty well, especially as she co-stars in it too. She could have taken the story and really schmaltzed it up or turned it into an awful physical slap-stick comedy - missing the point entirely. She knew what she was doing and she achieved it, not perfectly but at the required level. I do feel sorry for her though, as this film should and would have done better had it not have been for Mel Gibson's public downfall. I'm not judging this film based on Mr. Gibson's personal views though, I'm basing it on his performance and I have to say, it's one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. I exaggerate not. To do what he did convincingly takes pure talent; it might be overlooked now but I have no doubt that this will be regarded as a future classic - A contemporary Harvey even. It's just a shame then that he is somewhat let down by his younger co-stars who are given far too much screen time considering their (lack of) talent. Ignore them though, Gibson's performance alone rockets this films rating to a nearly perfect 4 and a half stars!

- SirPant, Wednesday, July 2, 2014

4 stars

What a surprise! I was not expecting to like this movie, but I did. Quite a bit! Very quirky. Rather dark. Some well placed humor, at times..but mostly sad, touching, and very well done. Jodie Foster is an exceptional director, in my opinion. The whole thing even made me forget that I dislike Mel now. He did a great job, I have to admit. It must have taken a lot of courage to attempt a comeback in a quirky movie like this. I think that he pulled it off quite well....

- itsjustme2004, Saturday, July 7, 2012