Tonight we watched Jodie Foster’s The Beaver (2011), starring Mel Gibson as a depressive businessman and Foster as his long-suffering wife. The basic premise of the film – that Walter Black (Gibson’s character) develops an alternate character through a beaver glove puppet which always talks on his behalf – is both unbelievable and what makes Mel Gibson’s performance fascinating. I rather liked this reductio ad absurdum approach to analysing the strains in marriages created by serious depression but that was probably too sophisticated for mass audiences and there is in any case too much saccharine in the rest of the plot for the film to work well. (The film was a ‘box office flop.’) It’s a shame, for Gibson clearly put a lot into his role. I wonder whether the opening sequence, where Walter Black depresses himself further by being unable to commit suicide effectively, was a deliberate nod to the opening sequence of The Odd Couple.