It seems like a marvel that 'The Beaver' actually exists. Before any of Mel Gibson's off-screen behavior even happened, the suggestion that an A-list star would willingly play opposite a hand puppet seemed more like a fake film than a legitimate premise. Then again, there was a time when the likelihood of seeing Jimmy Stewart star opposite a giant, invisible rabbit had to have seemed equally spare.

Jodie Foster's third feature as a director won't garner the same validation that a Pulitzer Prize would bring, despite a well-regarded screenplay by newcomer Kyle Killen that famously topped Hollywood's Black List of the best unproduced scripts. It's an occasionally ham-fisted story tenderly helmed by Foster and performed by her cast, and its merits will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the considerable parallels to its star's recently troublesome reputation.