The Beaver, the long-delayed movie directed by Jodie Foster and starring Mel Gibson, had its first screening in front of a public audience at South by Southwest on Wednesday night. And despite starring a violent fundamentalist... it was sort of well-received?

Or at least, people didn't hate it. "The film received what was described to me as a very strong ovation at the end," Deadline Hollywood's Nikki Finke writes, which is not exactly glowing praise, but for a movie in which the most hated actor in Hollywood plays a man who is prescribed (?) a hand puppet (?) because he is depressed (?), you could do a lot worse. Another not-quite-ringing endorsement from Finke's unnamed sources: "When Mel came on screen for the first time, there were no boos... the audience appeared engaged."

The Hollywood Reporter—which also has an official review of the film: "pays off solidly"—talked to some people who were at the premiere. And some of them thought it was okay! "Two foreign middle-aged women," for example, "had nothing but good things to say" (maybe they don't speak English?), while "a young guy in his twenties" who apparently spends a lot of time with puppeteers "said that he generally liked the film and found it very realistic." (Of course, there were some negative reactions, too, including accusations of triteness, and this business about Gibson being a lunatic bigot.)


So... who knows? Maybe there are enough people clambering for a "solid" film that "appear[s] engaging" that this thing will make a little bit of money? Or maybe everyone will just wait for the upcoming Julian Assange-Lamb Chop movie to get their fix of Australian misogynist anti-Semites with hand puppets.


[Deadline Hollywood