It would be easy to take the concept of a man using a beaver puppet to recover from a psychological break and use it as emotional slapstick. About as easy as it would be to make a vaginal reference when discussing the title of the film.

However, easy jokes aren’t what we’re about, and it’s definitely not what this trailer is about. The trailer for The Beaver takes itself seriously for good reason. The character arc is clearly there – Mel Gibson plays a man on the brink of crippling depression whose wife, played by director Jodie Foster, is pulling away alongside a young son who doesn’t understand and an older son, played by Anton Yelchin, who understands too well.

By the looks of it, everyone here is in top drawer performance mode. It’s especially nice to see Yelchin get to stretch a little bit in the Charlie Bartlett vein, but it’s also great to see Gibson and Foster return to the screen for something a bit more substantial. There’s a familiar sort of Regarding Henry feeling to all of it, and that’s a good thing. Plus, with the way they’re flashing around the Oscar pedigree, it’s unclear why they’re releasing it in the Spring. There goes a Best Supporting for the Beaver. Maybe he’ll get another shot in the new Muppet movie. [Apple]

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