The World Premiere of The Beaver took place last night at SXSW 2011.

Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with Mel Gibson in this thought-provoking story about a man suffering from depression, on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life.  Walter Black can’t seem to get his life on track as a toy executive, husband and father, his family life is broken, and his employees don’t respect him.

A botched suicide attempt leads to the introduction of The Beaver in Walter’s life — a hand puppet which takes on a life of its own.

Director Jodie Foster, who had just flown in from Paris where she is filming her new movie, Carnage, introduced the film to an enthusiastic audience.

Many in the SXSW film festival audience did not know what to expect going in to the first ever audience screening.  With the film’s trailer feeling like a feel good family comedy, we soon learn that the actual film itself has quite a different tone; something that was a challenge for Foster, in finding the right balance of comedy and drama in The Beaver.

Themes of mental illness and the pain it causes on families are surely not for those expecting a comedic film. The Beaver moves from light-hearted moments of comedy to dramatic with ease.

Scripted by Kyle Killen, phenomenal acting and excellent casting, The Beaver was absolutely brilliant. Jodie Foster did an incredible job acting and directing the film. Co-stars Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence of Winter’s Bone were also fantastic in their sub-story which looked at the effects of having a father who is facing this depression and losing a member of the family.

Mel Gibson gave an excellent performance, so well in fact that the viewer becomes attached to the puppet as much as the character of Walter Black himself.

Perseverance through tragedy, love, the connection with another that can make life more bearable, these powerful themes resonate with the viewer even after the final scene of the film.

I very much enjoyed The Beaver. It’s an incredible film that entertains and moves the viewer with relatable themes and a beautiful take home message. Jodie Foster put together a fantastic movie. Definitely worth seeing!