Scandal, Strategy and ‘Beaver’

Rahav Segev/Reuters

While not Mission Accomplished, Stage 1 of “Save the Beaver” is a rousing success.

Jodie Foster’s The Beaver, held back from release for six months following leaked phone tapes of its star’s tirade against his ex-girlfriend, finally premiered March 16 at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin. Reviews have mostly been positive, thus validating a strategy by Summit to accept the SXSW slot —  where the crowd was bound to be more open to an outlaw celebrity — before the film’s May 6 release. The film’s gracious actress-director went to Austin with a solid game plan, never ducking a question in interviews or appearances, serving to remind everyone that this is a Jodie Foster and not
a Mel Gibson film.

Thus, Matt Patches of Cinema Blend celebrated Foster and writer Kyle Killen — whose script made the famous Black List — before noting that Gibson is “the perfect choice” to play its protagonist, a man with mental-health issues. Neil Miller of Film School Rejects said that 10 minutes into the movie, you may forget you’re watching Gibson. The silliest blog had the L.A. Times’ Tom O’Neil calculating Gibson’s Oscar chances. But Terrence Henry, blogging for The Atlantic, summed up the mood of some others by refusing to see the movie, saying Gibson “doesn’t deserve my time, money or sympathy.” Summit and Foster know that will still be the case for many — even were Gibson to join Charlie Sheen on a mea culpa tour of the U.S.