Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"The Beaver" is a very strange movie that takes depression very seriously

I don't know if I've ever seen a movie that makes depression its central concern the way The Beaver does. The Virginia Woolf portion of The Hours is certainly interested in what depression makes Virginia do, but I can't think of another film that is so utterly consumed with trying to express the way the condition manifests in an individual and family. That's not to say that The Beaver is *good*, really, but it is to say that the film is certainly provocative for people who have encountered and battled this slice of human experience.

I think it gets a lot right: the inheritance of depression (how much am I loving Anton Yelchin lately?); the way one hurting family member can alter and upset the lives of the entire household; how imagining a better version of yourself can actually produce that self into being. And I also think The Beaver really missed the mark in a lot of places, too: the lack of chemistry between Gibson and Foster; the resolution of the puppet plot; and the melodrama, my God, the melodrama.

I'm still feeling pretty conflicted about this one. I'm not ready to heartily recommend it, but I'm also not willing to write it off. It's one of those maddening movies that gets thisclose to relevance, and drops the ball.


  1. I know of a lot of movies that make depressing ME their central concern. What about Rachel Getting Married, or was she a drug addict? Otherwise, I'd actually say two Adam Sandler movies: Punch Drunk Love and Reign Over Me. Although I've not seen the puppet movie so I don't have that comparison.

  2. OOh! What about Lars & the Real Girl?

  3. This is one of those movies where I'd have to be in the right mood to watch it but the only right mood seems to be a depressive one. Yeesh. But the presence of Yelchin does help.

    Lars & the Real Girl is such a great movie.

    A movie about depression but with hope is that Zach Galifinwhatever one, It's Kind of a Funny Story. Though with teens I'm never sure if they're just looking for attention.