Madcap Mel Gibson plays Walter Black, a toy store CEO and tormented, middle-aged man whose existence is perpetually threatened by depression. Turning to booze and a window ledge after being banned from his home, Walter then begins self-medicating through puppetry. Yes, puppetry. "The Beaver" is a buck-toothed hand puppet who serves as proxy in matters of a personal and professional nature. Speaking in a Cockneye accent and firmly affixed to Walter's hand, the Beaver rejuvenates Walter's relationships with a little tough love and firm guidance. In the intense psychological study of fissures in the family and the self is where the film hits its stride. Director Jodie Foster navigates the family dysfunction with equal parts graceful reserve and brash honesty while Gibson puts in a committed performance that teems with authenticity: You just know he's been there, too.