By Caryn James | James on Screens August 23, 2011 at 5:11AM
There's celebrity and then there's art, which means you don't have to be a Mel Gibson apologist to appreciate his stunning performance in The Beaver. (Public opinion might be swinging back his way, but that's a different conversation.)
As Gibson continues to do all sorts of damage control - trying to live down headlines about his temper and personal life, trying to manage some kind of professional comeback - The Beaver arrives on DVD and reminds us it's called acting for a reason. Whatever shadows of personal demons may have informed Gibson's portrayal of a family man in free fall, who talks to a beaver hand puppet as a way of hanging on to a shred of sanity, his performance is amazing and affecting. (Here's my full review.)
Director Jodie Foster, who also plays his wife, was never going to have an easy time at the box office with this eccentric drama, but she and Gibson have gone for art over money in The Beaver, a truly original film that deserves an afterlife.