One of the best movies about depression that don't look depressive at all.
Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is a depressed man who surrounded by monotony, daily routine, empty weekends, work issues and family disaster tries to find a way out of his pathetic and sad life, a life he lived because he accepted it and fueled it with his own ego, dull behavior and mindless actions. He is a man that got caught in his own trap. He is a man close to hang himself. Close to jump from a balcony. He is a man who's selfish side always wins and decides to excuse him from the mistakes he made and pardon him from all the responsibility, pushing him over the edge of his own life and reality. But, accidentally or not, his favorite puppet becomes the voice of the warrior inside him. The split-personality process is shown perfectly in this film. The Beaver, his arm-puppet, gets to be the rational and the kind side of Walter and as long as he lives and could use his voice and express himself, the rusty and hurt side of Walter will stay hidden somewhere in some mind jail cell he built. With the help of "The Beaver", Walter finds a way home to his kids and wife, Meredith Black (Jodie Foster), a woman who fought for her husband as much as she could but felt forced to leave him and protect her kids from his own depression and strange behavior. Apparently, one of his kids, the older son, Porter Black (Anton Yelchin), is the "enemy" of both Walter and Beaver. Now The Beaver really finds himself in an awkward position. He made everyone love him and appreciate him back, he got his wife back, he got his company back on track, he got millions of people across America that find his story inspiring yet his own son despise him. The problems do not end here in this "hocus-bogus" show but they continue when the puppet becomes more than just "the good side".
The real issues appear when the puppet identifies with Walter and Walter lets The Beaver identify with the whole Walter. Then, Walter loses any track of responsibility, and he must find a way to regain his dominance and defeat this Beaver who sometimes looks more and more like a villain than the hero he once was. This inner fight is hard and might end badly for both of them but in the end, it's all about what Walter wants and not the Beaver. As you can see, the story is much more interesting and deep than it might seem. It's not a story about a puppet at all. It's a story about a man losing his own sanity, having problems with his personality and having a hard time integrating again into the -what we call- normal social world. And all of that thanks to his pathetic fall to depression, which is probably one of the worst enemies a human being could have. But this is exactly what I love about this movie. We live in an era where almost 1 from 3 people suffer from some kind of depression. This movie puts and end to this sad enemy and gives us hope and a reason to fight for our families, careers, and ultimately, our own mind and soul.
The dialogue is very well written and the story structure is pretty good but still the main focus of this film is not the bold story but this beautiful performance of Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson offers us one of the best portrayals of his career and definitely one of the best portrayals of 2011. I'm sure he found the character fascinating because I personally think he could easily identify with it in many aspects so it might have been easier for him than we think. The point is: this is Mel Gibson's movie thanks to his subtle yet powerful piece of acting but should we forget about Jodie Foster? As far as acting she does a good job yet nothing that really could stand out but as far as direction goes, she was more than just good. The attention to little details was impressive, the contrast and the cinematography looked very good and gave a sense of calm even though the story was far from being calm at all (there we have another good contrast), while the music matched all the portions in the film.
This is definitely one of the best movies about depression that don't look depressive at all. It's a must-see film for any film maniac out there and I don't think Mel could have had a better comeback than this one.
Technical Execution: 8,1/10
Replay Value: 8/10