'The Beaver' Critic Reviews

80%
MovieWeb:   4 reviews
61%
Rotten Tomatoes:   177 reviews
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    59
    Mel Gibson looks like hell in The Beaver. That's a compliment.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    50
    A promising story about a madman and his puppet fast becomes a trite tale of a father and son as the combustible Mr. Gibson is tamped down...
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    20
    Contrived, self-admiring and self-pitying, unfunny, burdened with a central performance which is unendurably conceited and charmless.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    63
    For a film about the real problem of mental illness, it never feels authentic. Depression is not something neatly tied up. If this is meant as an allegory, it's vague and unconvincing.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Jen Chaney Washington Post (Top Critic)
    63
    Despite some missteps, this film stands as a moving portrait of a husband and father who reclaims his will to live with the unlikely help of a hand puppet. And the main reason it's so moving? Mel Gibson.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Wesley Morris Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    50
    It's unclear what about life or depression Foster and Killen are really saying. A movie about a man hiding behind a puppet is also a story about a movie hiding behind its star.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • J. Hoberman Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Mel's character isn't on Prozac, but the movie is -- a succession of bland camera setups, cued to a highly conventional score. Would that the direction were half as nutty as the script or as wacked-out as its star!
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Joe Neumaier New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    60
    Though Kyle Killen's script becomes trite and predictable, Gibson delivers in an uncompromising way.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    Delivers more than it promises-namely a performance that draws on exceptional skill as well as what one irresistibly takes to be the real-life anguish of a movie star whose own life has come to ruin.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    75
    You won't be the only one anticipating a car-crash appeal in The Beaver , that eerie sensation of not being able to look away from catastrophe.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    75
    The film is amusing, then melancholy, then weirdly funny, then not. It's a quiet, measured work.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Glenn Kenny MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    60
    ...the film has some bristling and moving scenes and certainly ends up being what you'd call a conversation starter.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    The movie's glumness is in synch with Foster's performances over the last decade: It's as if she's decided that acting is something you mature beyond. Which I suspect had a dampening effect on Gibson's performance.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • David Denby New Yorker (Top Critic)
    As director, Foster, working with Kyle Killen's screenplay, treats the goofy premise with a literal earnestness -- as a family drama about separation and reunion -- that seems all wrong. A little wit would have helped.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    63
    "The Beaver" is almost successful, despite the premise of its screenplay, which I was simply unable to accept.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    63
    This strange, uncertain picture can't be dismissed.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Ben Sachs Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    This is often quite affecting for its portrait of midlife crisis and Gibson's personal investment in the role.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    That this ambitious, if deeply odd, film is so compulsively watchable is a credit to Gibson's compelling performances, both as spiritless Walter and the Cockney-accented voice of the tireless title character.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    75
    If anyone can see past the suggestive title, the oddball premise and the controversial casting of this film, they might be surprised to find it surprisingly tolerable.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    84
    The acting throughout -- Foster, Lawrence, Yelchin -- is superb, and this may well be Gibson's finest performance, just as it's Foster's most balanced job of directing.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    70
    Gibson's performance as Walter Black ranks among the best of his career.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    75
    Whatever you think of Mr. Gibson, whatever he has lost, he still has talent, and here displays acting of power and resonance. It's a pleasure, for a change, to see the best side of his split personality at work.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Andrew Barker Variety (Top Critic)
    [Gibson] delivers a performance very few could pull off as a depressed father who begins communicating through a hand puppet, but Foster doesn't know how to manage it or navigate the script's seismic tonal shifts/
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Lou Lumenick New York Post (Top Critic)
    88
    Even as Kyle Killen's script becomes ever more implausible and ultimately ridiculous, it's impossible to take your eyes off the screen when the tortured and ill-looking Gibson is center stage.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    75
    Gibson and the baggage he brings along with him on this regret and redemption tale make "The Beaver" an often moving and always disturbing film.
    Full Review » 3 years ago